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Giving where I live to make seniors smile


In April, I ran across a promotion on the TELUS Facebook page that posed a simple question: If you volunteered one day in your community, what would you do?

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I happened to share my story about how I give back by making nutritious, gourmet lunches once a month for the elderly at the South Granville Seniors Centre in Vancouver.

I had no idea what was about to happen because of that one post.

Volunteering at the centre started last year.  I was looking for ways to make a meaningful difference for others and knew it had to be related to helping low-income seniors, a cause that’s close to my heart. I grew up without grandparents and that’s a special relationship I’ve been missing in my life. So, I really wanted to find a way to connect with, and help out, seniors in my community.

I also happen to have a great passion, and some would say, talent for cooking. So when I discovered the lunch program at the centre, it was a perfect combination of my interest and skills coming together in the spirit of community service.

The centre sure needed a helping hand. Their facilities are dated, food budgets are tight and, sometimes, our volunteers have to wash dishes between lunch and dessert because there aren’t enough plates to go around.

Most of the seniors who visit the centre don’t have a lot of disposable income, and they can’t afford a fine meal on a regular basis. I try to create unique recipes from scratch, made with only the highest quality ingredients that I purchase from local farm markets. I really believe that seniors deserve healthy and memorable dining experiences. They’ve earned it.

What surprises me is now there’s a waiting list for lunch on the day I’m at the stove. It’s a great feeling.  My next lunch at the centre is on June 20 and anyone is welcome to attend.

On May 23, the TELUS team pulled off a major surprise for me, the centre staff and the seniors who were on hand for lunch. With help from TELUS, we treated the seniors to something extraordinary.  There were beautifully decorated tables, live music by a string quartet and service with a smile by the friendly volunteers from the company.

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But they didn’t stop there.  The folks from TELUS also donated new plates, a stand-up freezer and other appliances, as well as a gift card for $1,000 that we can use for future lunches at the centre. These generous gifts were so unexpected and we all are very grateful as the supplies will go a long way in helping us, help others.

I truly believe that as citizens of our community, we should never become complacent or simply ‘too busy’ to care for others.  I feel that for those of us who have much, much is expected and we all have an obligation to pay it forward. If you care about something, and you really want to make things better, you can always find time to do it. Working hard and being busy are not enough to fulfill you in life. Seeing the joy in others, because of something kind that you did, that’s what fulfills you. That’s what matters.

In all honesty, I get back so much more than I give.

Kevin Curtis is a TELUS customer and senior manager at a Vancouver area advertising intelligence firm.

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Spreading joy goes viral
Watch and share three uplifting web videos, which showcase how our customers are giving where they live on TELUS’ Facebook page: