October’s Volunteer of the Month: Mallorie Peel

1. Volunteer position:

Packing and prep for market or, on foot deliveries on Fridays.

2. Tell us a little about yourself:

My name is Mallorie Peel and I grew up in Scarborough. Over the years, I have moved around Toronto a bit, working a handful of different jobs and am currently living in The Beaches area. I enjoy attending the wide variety of festivities that Toronto has to offer year round, including the Summer Saturday events which Building Roots orchestrates with many different types of local artists.    

3. How did you get involved with Building Roots?

Upon returning to work after the city’s two month shut down in 2020, I found my work environment to be extremely toxic with employers expecting everyone to take on additional tasks and work overtime without compensation. It felt like everyone at work was focused solely on acquiring money, stress levels were through the roof and it seemed compassion for each other was in short supply. I had to quit. A few interviews later, I realized most offices were experiencing this burn out. I decided I would try to start my own business, growing microgreens. I was attracted to the idea of helping people access healthy foods, especially now with living expenses continuing to rise. Toronto’s zoning laws prevented me from legally selling food grown in my own home, so I decided to donate them instead. That’s when I found the Building Roots website and learned about their pay-what-you-can food market on Saturdays at Moss Park. I signed up for a volunteer shift, grateful to have a small “job” again and as mentioned, I wanted to give back to the community. Little did I know just how much I would be gaining from my time spent with the amazing people at Building Roots.  

 4. How long have you been with us?

Just over a year and a half now.

5. Why do you volunteer?

To hang out with the awesome humans that work at Building Roots. Originally, the goal was to make myself useful again to society but now I just enjoy everyone’s company and their stories. People from all walks of life are welcome at Moss Park and my life has been enriched by other volunteers’ advice, compassion, encouragement and support. Building Roots showed me that not everyone is trying to get ahead and take advantage of others. There are many people left in our city who genuinely care for others and that inspired hope in me. Hope that we can work together, hope that things can change and hope that we can rebuild a better city, one that is based on equity for all. 

6. What’s your favorite thing to do during your volunteer shift? Why?

Venting about life in general is always fun, because everyone at Building Roots has a great sense of humor and they are all good listeners. You will get multiple perspectives about any given topic and learn new ways of doing things. 

Thank you to everyone at Building Roots for their tireless efforts and endless care. They have always made me feel welcome and if everyone could donate just a few hours out of their weekends here and there to volunteer with Building Roots, who knows what miracles they could accomplish next? Building Roots is a community I am forever grateful to be a part of and I hope they can continue to thrive. Many families and individuals need the extra support, now more than ever. 

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