SPRING BAY—Nan Buie of Spring Bay has been a well-known figure on the volunteer circuit for many years, but lately, she says of her volunteer work, her heart belongs to the Manitoulin Food Bank.
Last week, in fact, Ms. Buie was honoured by Manitoulin Food Bank staff and fellow volunteers with her eight-year pin for time spent with the Food Bank and Treasures Thrift Store, each a division of Manitoulin Family Resources.
Ms. Buie spent many years on the Providence Bay Community Centre Board when her children were young. “I helped with fall suppers, barbecues and bake sales to help keep the arena afloat,” she said. “I also did fundraising for the figure skating club when my daughter was a skater.”
Many may also remember Ms. Buie’s hard work with the former Manitoulin Islanders of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. If you ever attended one of their many luncheons or musical dinners, you would have tasted Ms. Buie’s handiwork. “I made literally gallons of soup at that time,” she recalled.
These days Ms. Buie works at the Thrift Store by helping to sort the donations that come in and put them on display. “The money raised from Treasures goes to purchase food for the Food Bank, which is where my heart is,” Ms. Buie said.
The Spring Bay volunteer has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to fundraising and helps put it to good use with the many annual Food Bank fundraising events, such as the fashion show held last weekend, luncheons and craft fairs.
This May, Ms. Buie can also be found hard at work at the Manitoulin Trade Fair, giving out information about the Manitoulin Food Bank and the services offered there and what they do as well as the importance of being able to deliver those services to those who need a helping hand.
She notes how rewarding the work is, being able to help a single parent, a senior citizen or anyone struggling to make ends meet.
“It is my purpose and my joy,” Ms. Buie said of the Food Bank. “I get back as much as I put into it.”
“We have an amazing, super manager in Nancy McDermid,” she added. “She’s created more food sources for us for the Food Bank,” Ms. Buie said, noting Ms. McDermid’s hard work and dedication to her job.
Ms. Buie volunteers her time each and every Tuesday and Wednesday night with “amazing coworkers who are also my friends.”
“The thank yous, hugs, tears you receive from those you have helped—there are so many rewards, and just knowing that you’ve helped fill a child’s lunchbox that week,” Ms. Buie said.
She also thanked the people who support Treasures and the Food Bank by donating or buying items. “We appreciate all the input,” she said. “Without them, we can’t supply the food.”
Ms. Buie said she began as a volunteer with Manitoulin Family Resources after a friend suggested she get involved. “I did have the time and felt I needed to be useful somewhere besides chasing dust balls,” she laughed. “We were in the old portable building then and there wasn’t much food.”
“If people have time, I can attest to the fact that it is very rewarding and very needed,” Ms. Buie said of volunteering. “We always need more. I also encourage students who want to bulk up their community hours to come forward—it’s rewarding.”