We at The Compass believe people are the most important asset and we’d like to share some stories of people at The Compass to give the public a peek of what we do here.

On March 6th, our blogger Xinli Wang met with one of the regular volunteers Tamara Taylor and heard her story of how she became a volunteer with The Compass. She was a client of The Compass a few years back when she was going through a difficult time and now she’s more than happy to give back and we hope you enjoy learning about her story and consider becoming part of The Compass.

Below is my interview summary with Tammy. I will use X for myself and T for Tammy in the conversations.

X: Hi Tammy! How are you? Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

T: Hi! How are you? I’m a single female turning 50 this year, and I was a client here at The Compass back in 2012 and I used to come to The Compass for about two-and-a-half years on a regular basis and then I decided to volunteer at such a beautiful place like this. I really want to volunteer and give back to a place that gives so much to the Lakeshore community and a lot of the clients that come in do live in this neighborhood, and I think it helps that they see a familiar face that they know and make them feel more comfortable coming in.

X: That’s great to hear! Can you tell us about your experience with The Compass in those years?

T: I used The Compass back in 2012 with my then eleven-year-old son. We use to come here and were provided with food. The Compass uses a point system: you have a fixed amount of money on a voucher that you can use to make purchases. When you come to do your shopping, you are given a limit so The Compass helps you get what you really need. They won’t tell you what to get; you will do your shopping and if you need milk, the cost of milk will come off from the point system on your voucher and you learn how to budget in this way. I’ve decided to volunteer now and I work at the Hospitality and I serve coffee, light refreshment, snacks, and hot meals. I also volunteer on Saturdays for Dinner and Movie nights.

X: Thank you! That’s lovely to know. You mentioned that there is a point system for the clients here at The Compass to do shopping here, how much do they usually cost?

T: They are completely free! You don’t need to purchase them. The point system gives every client a fixed amount each month. It’s replenished every month.

X: That means the clients receive free service from The Compass and there is a cap to how much shopping they can do each month, right?

T: Yes. The Compass offers a lot of other services to build a close community. There is a crochet and knitting group for the ladies which is on Wednesday nights. The ladies get together and they crochet and knit and have a good time. If you are interested in learning how to crochet or knit, these ladies will gladly help you start. There are books for clients to enjoy and read. If you have books that you no longer need, please consider bringing them into The Compass. We can always put them into good use. There is a Men’s Club. There is also help with taxes, you can come in and somebody here will be more than happy to help you.

X: I heard sometimes there is haircut service at The Compass, is it true?

T: Yes! There is haircut service: we have two hairdressers who come here regularly to cut our clients’ hair. Everyone enjoys a fresh hairdo.

X: Do I need to make an appointment or can I just drop in?

T: I believe you need to book an appointment ahead of time.

X: Is there any other service that The Compass provides that people don’t usually think a food bank offers?

T: The Compass is more than just a food bank. I believe there is also outreach. People from the community have gatherings here and have a good time with their friends. There are also many volunteer opportunities: hospitality, delivery, sorting donations, cooking. You name it. Volunteering here gives me a sense of joy because I know I can help so many people in need.

X: Thank you! That’s beautiful. I believe a lot of volunteers who work here share the same feelings. Do you have any advice for people from this neighborhood who want to help out?

T: Volunteer! Come in and work with us. You will love it here. Also if you know someone who has something to donate, you can collect it on behalf of The Compass and bring it over. We are fully supported by the community.

X: Thanks again for sharing your story. Besides volunteering here, are you busy with anything else at this moment?

T: Yes I attend church on Sundays. Serving God is also volunteering. I enjoy hiking, and I write poetry and spend time with my animals. I just passed the Food Handling exam and I’m looking for job now.

What a heart-warming story that Tammy has shared with us! Thank you Tammy for your generosity in sharing your time and energy with everyone at The Compass, and for sharing your experience with all of us.

Do you have a story about The Compass that we should know? Please write to us at Blog@thecompass.ca

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