Quest is heavily indebted to the work of all of its volunteers. From 2012 to 2014, Amy Farahbakhsh – a master’s student at UBC focusing on the topic of food recovery – was one of our key volunteer contributors.
An Ontario transplant, Amy originally worked at the front desk doing everything from processing referrals to helping with the newsletter to training new volunteers. But over the course of her 24 months with Quest, she transitioned to working in the distribution center as a warehouse assistant where she helped with record-keeping, donor relations, and price look-ups.
Recently, Amy graciously took some time out of her extraordinarily busy schedule to share her thoughts on volunteering with Quest.
When asked what led to her involvement with our organization, Amy harkened back to her (presumably) halcyon days out east:
When I lived in London, Ontario, I remember hearing about Second Harvest, which is an organization based in Toronto. I really liked the idea of putting to use food that would otherwise be wasted, but was very disappointed that I could not volunteer at Second Harvest since I didn’t live in Toronto. When I moved to Vancouver and found out that Quest was a similar organization doing food recovery work, I started volunteering ASAP. … [The] goal of the organization, namely avoiding needless waste … drew me to volunteer.
And when questioned on the most rewarding part of her volunteer experience, Amy was quick to highlight the relationships she built with her coworkers:
[W]ork[ing] with the employees and other volunteers has been a highlight for me. I got to know a handful of regular volunteers and staff, who were all lovely people with a range of backgrounds and strengths. The staff that I had the pleasure of working with and learning from were awesome people and very gracious and welcoming. I will also always remember the nurturing volunteer environment at Quest, and that people of all abilities were welcomed and involved in some capacity. Quest provides such a positive environment, and it began to feel like my second home and second family.
In addition to helping with her master’s thesis, Amy also found that her volunteer work with Quest was a welcome respite from the rigors of academic life and allowed her to build skills that make her a more desirable employee. (Trifecta!)
I was really excited to volunteer at Quest because of its unique environment that was very different from the school environment. I really liked it because it gave me a way of learning more about, and contributing to cause that I believe in – reducing food waste. …
The diversity of roles and flexibility at Quest allowed me to build skills such as working with a range of people, dealing with different types of information, [and] managing difficult and stressful situations with clients … I really value the skills that I built through my volunteering at Quest – skills that complemented those that I gained in my program – and they continue to help me as I seek out jobs.
Sadly, Amy’s time with Quest has come to an end, but we’ll always be grateful for the invaluable contributions she provided! The time and effort of volunteers like her are integral to Quest fulfilling its mission.