Alicia’s Story

Volunteer with the #SpreadingHope crew

Name: Alicia
Position: Volunteer with the #SpreadingHope crew

At Southridge Jam Co. we believe that to be happy and healthy, a person needs a home, a friend, and a purpose. Volunteers like Alycia are helping us bring a sense of purpose to our program participants, generating stability and positive momentum as they transition out of homelessness.

Beaming with enthusiasm and a passion for the work being done at the Southridge Jam Co. kitchen, Alicia was eager to talk to us about being part of the team that is “spreading hope” by making jam. She urges everyone to try volunteering with Southridge Jam Co., because it’s a great place to learn and build incredible friendships! Read on to be inspired by her jam-making journey:

Tell us Alicia, what made you want to volunteer at Southridge Jam Co.?

I had heard about it through the grapevine and from some of the planners. I’ve done baking and jam-making before–with a background in being a huge “foodie!”–and felt it was a great fit for me. I figured it would be working within my skill set, but also a great challenge!

So you had made jam before this experience–is this a skill you were able to develop further at Southridge Jam Co.?

Oh I have definitely gained new skills! Jam-making at home is different–now we are making it in much larger quantities at the Southridge Jam Co. kitchen! It was great having Cam, our Red Seal Chef, guiding us through the jam-making. He explained to us why certain steps were there and gave us background on the process. I gained such an appreciation for the complexity of the process—I feel like this has totally upped the game!

What has been the highlight of this experience for you?

The friendships that have been developed. I have made many new friends and I am so thankful that our paths have crossed! It was amazing, cooking jam with the lady beside me and listening to her tell about how she came to Southridge. We all have struggles and our stories are often something we hide well, but this has allowed me to open up more. They’ve taught me to be real about my life story. That’s been so rewarding!

What would you tell someone who is interested in volunteering with SJC?

Everyone should totally try at least one cohort–anybody can do it! Even if you’ve never made jam before, don’t let that hinder you. There is a place for everyone. Being part of a community, and gaining the friendship element of it, is something you will never forget. And you may surprise yourself, you never know what you’ll discover–it’s good to challenge oneself!

Why is Southridge Jam Co. more than just a jam?

Investment in people.

I love the fact that people are being empowered with practical, relational skills, and are being given the feeling that they have something to contribute.

That’s been the journey I’m on–seeing that I can empower others to be a part of something. People want purpose, It’s the slogan, Spreading Hope…that’s what you’re purchasing with a jar of jam from Southridge Jam Co.