Far away from home, in a new country with no friends! Being a busy bee, I found it difficult to just keep doing sight-seeing in the winter (I felt like an Eskimo walking the streets!). There was plenty of time for me to get a job. So I found an alternative: doing something which always brings me happiness – Volunteering.
After applying to a couple of places, I got selected by the Food Coop Shop as their café coordinator. Imagine handling a café with no prior experience! Well yes, training is provided, and when you feel you are ready, it will be…show time!
So what is Food Coop Shop all about?
It’s a non-profit group, run by a community supporting local, organic, unpackaged, fair trade and affordable food for all. With one of its primary focuses being environment, the BYOC (Bring Your Own Containers) concept is followed here. So, go grocery shopping using your own containers and if you have plenty at home, donate the ones lying in your house for others to use. It also supports refugee women by giving them a chance to work here.
The USP of the Food Coop’s café, is the lunch served here – prepared with love by the chefs (yes, I choose to call them that) and served by the volunteers who manage the orders placed by customers along with flaunting their Barista skills. The food served is vegan and so are the yummylicious baked goods – again, prepared by the volunteers. The food products sold in the shop are all organic or prepared by Coop members. The Food Coop’s café also has Suspended Lunch/Coffee, which is the ‘pay it forward’ concept. The Food Coop has now started the Thursday Drinks and Dinner night; one of the many efforts to sustain themselves, financially.
The Food Coop Shop and it’s café is one of the many places that does not care who you are. Leave your background behind because what matters is YOU and everyone is welcomed here. This place is always buzzing with students and working professionals. Not just for lunch but also as a place to meet and have some serious as well as hearty discussions. It attracts groups who are involved in social causes as well. You can notice this by the number of awareness leaflets put up. Not just this, there are many workshops conducted on – growing your own seeds, herbal tea preparation, yoga, etc. Keep a tab on events you may like by following their Facebook page (@thefoodcoopshop ) or Instagram handle (foodcoopshop).
The place has a warm ambiance and lovely music. Most of the furniture here is donated by well-wishers and decorated by the coop managers and volunteers; which is the reason behind the vibrant look and feel of the place.
What did I get in return, you may ask. A whole lot of smiles and friends, encouragement, and tons of hugs! Along with a free meal and a coffee for the shift I completed.
My time at the Food Coop’s café resonates with this quote:
“Volunteers are not paid not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless” – Sherry Anderson.
So stop by the Food Coop Shop’s café during the morning hours for some hot, freshly brewed chai or during noon for the lunch & beverages (tea, coffee, smoothies, etc.) and enjoy your space.
Wish to volunteer at the Food Coop ? Meet the Coop managers from Monday to Friday between 10:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Picture Credits: The Food Coop Shop