“I’ve always been community oriented – it’s in my blood”, Erin Fox, a former volunteer in the Quintin Warner House (QWH) kitchen, states.
While volunteering has always been something Erin has participated in, volunteering at QWH was a particularly meaningful experience.
Erin was grateful for the trust QWH staff gave her when it came to cooking, teaching and helping clients cook meals, as well as cutting and preparing food for later use.
She would come up with recipes to use based on donations received, and cut and freeze fresh food to use at later dates. Erin was able to make a difference sharing her gift of cooking, but being able to cook for, and help teach cooking practices to the men at QWH was not the only meaningful aspect to her volunteer work.
Erin has seen her own son struggle with addiction for much of his life. It has been a painful journey, but being able to talk to the men staying at QWH helped her more than she ever expected.
“The guys just wanted to talk; I was the ‘mom’ figure – it just naturally happened that way. It was so nice that they felt comfortable sharing their stories with me. Their stories helped me to understand my son’s struggles a lot better,” Erin explains.
One former client, Bobby, stands out. “He was the same age as my son and went through a lot of the same things. His mom passed away while he was at QWH; he and I just really connected. When I was there helping out, he was the one who mostly came along and helped me even on his off-time so we could chat,” Erin describes.
Erin also sews, and after retirement decided to get back into it, starting a small business called Arctic Fox. She sews eco-friendly pieces like produce bags, tote bags, and carrying bags for re-usable straws. Erin also sews weighted blankets, so she sewed one for QWH at cost.
Erin has shared her gifts with QWH while learning and growing from her interactions with the men at QWH in return. She is grateful for the experience.
We, in turn, are thankful to Erin and the hundreds of other volunteers who share their many talents.
Written by Rachel Ganzewinkel, Communications & PR Coordinator