Meet our volunteer of the year: Jean Kruger

August 7, 2020

We are proud to announce our volunteer of the year for 2019 is Jean Kruger. Jean has been volunteering with us for more than six years. In August 2019, Jean completed her 1,000th volunteer hour for Inn from the Cold! Over the last fiscal year, Jean volunteered 135 hours of her time. She spent the majority of her volunteering in our kitchen preparing meals and snacks for the families staying at our shelter. At the time of writing this (August 7, 2020) Jean has recorded nearly 1,100 volunteer hours with our organization. The staff at Inn from the Cold are proud of Jean and her volunteering efforts, as she is our first ever volunteer to complete 1,000+ hours of volunteering with our organization.

We interviewed Jean over the phone to get her thoughts looking back on her volunteering career with Inn from the Cold, which you can read below.

 

An interview with Jean Kruger:

 

When did you first volunteer with IFTC?

I first volunteered for the Christmas gift Drive in December of 2013. I started as a regular weekly volunteer in January of 2014.

 

Why did you decide to volunteer at IFTC rather than other local organizations?

My daughter’s best friend had worked at the charity for a few years and was always telling us about what a great organization it was and how much she enjoyed her time there. She only left to pursue a career in teaching. I liked the idea of helping families who were in dire need of assistance so it seemed a good fit for me.

When they asked if I could work in the kitchen helping prep meals I was excited, as that definitely would have been my first choice, as I love to cook.

 

What were your first impressions of volunteering with IFTC?

I loved it from the get go as the staff were so appreciative of the help and they were always so cheerful.

 

What kept you coming back to volunteer at IFTC?

It is a great feeling to feel useful. Especially to a community that needs the help the most. Although the idea of anyone being homeless is horrendous, the idea of children in particular being without food or shelter is the best reason of all to volunteer for IFTC.

 

Was 1,000 hours a goal that you had or did it just happen?

It definitely just happened.  I had no idea that I had that many hours. I laugh at that day when the staff in the kitchen kept it hidden the fact that they were planning a surprise for me.  When I walked into the room of people clapping I kept looking for the person they were applauding.  Once again, IFTC does not take their volunteers for granted and always show appreciation.

 

What have been some of your favourite memories from volunteering?

I supposed the previous memory sticks out but every day was fun. My volunteer day became my favourite day of the week.

 

Have you noticed changes in yourself from when you started volunteering to now?  If so, what are they?

For sure, I have learned to appreciate the small things in life. Volunteering has provided me with a better sense of purpose, and I hope it has taught me to be more patient with others.

It certainly makes me happier to help others.

 

What do you miss most about volunteering in person?

The kitchen staff are an amazing group and I miss them. Of course, I also miss the feeling of joy that helping others gives me.

 

We are so thankful for Jean’s many years of hard work helping us provide for less fortunate Calgary families. We would like to acknowledge the contributions from all the volunteers contributing to our continued success in providing supports for families experiencing homelessness in Calgary.

If you are interested in Volunteering for IFTC:

Due to COVID-19, all our current volunteer opportunities are remote. If you would like to remotely volunteer and help our staff and scatter-site families, or if you would like to volunteer in person in the future, head to our Volunteer page and fill out your volunteer profile. Once that is completed, our volunteer department will be in contact shortly after to set up your own volunteering opportunity and get you on your way to 1,000 volunteer hours.