A bout of boredom led Danny Williams to start volunteering with the 100 Mile Food Bank Society.
Seven years later, he is still there – serving as both a longtime volunteer and the new president of the food bank society board – and has no plans to leave anytime soon.
“My wife and I retired in 2013. We got a little bored and found out they needed volunteers here at the Food Bank. They took us on right away and we’ve been here ever since,” Williams 76, said. “It’s enjoyable. I’m not looking at four walls. I’m going to stay on for a while.”
Getting involved in the community isn’t new to Williams, who moved to 100 Mile from Windsor, Ont. in 1976. He never once looked back – or even visited Ontario – after taking a job as a Ford salesman, a position he held for 30 years. He and his wife then decided to open their own business, Outback Spa & Leisure on Exeter Station Road, running it for 16 years before they retired.
While working and raising their two children, Williams was also a member of the Kinsmen Club, while playing hockey and pitching for a local fastball team.
“People are friendly and at least people here stop and talk to you and really are interested in getting involved with you in doing different things in the community,” he said. “I love it here. Just the peace, it’s a friendly place to be.”
Williams credits his longevity at the food bank to the “super crew” of 20-plus volunteers he works with – each of them is committed to a particular shift at the bank – who “work hard and do a good job here.” Food Bank volunteers must be energetic and be able to lift 50 to 60 pounds.
“They come from far away. They live out of town and come in and still serve people, they’re interested in the job,” he said. “It’s a super crew here. They don’t hesitate to help.”
Williams also enjoys seeing the people who come in for food bank services, noting he knows many of them from his time as a car salesman. He often goes outside on hamper days to talk to people and make sure they are registered.
The Food Bank serves about 150 people on Tuesday hamper days, and over Christmas more than 200, Williams said. At the moment, the organization is offering support to Merritt evacuees who are staying in 100 Mile House following the massive flooding of the Coldwater River.
“With the floods and everything going on we’ve got some people from Merritt wondering if they can get hampers. I tell them it’s not a problem, just come in, we’ll give you anything you want,” he said.
Williams noted volunteering at the food bank is generally enjoyable, mainly because the community is “super generous. We seem to be on top of their list.
“You get the odd person that is upset with you because they think you should be open past your hours and things like that but we explain to them we’re just volunteers, none of us get paid and we’re tired at the end of the day,” he said.
Despite this, Williams encourages everyone to volunteer.
“We have fun,” he said. “I’ll go as long as I can. You snooze, you lose. If you want to see happy faces and do good for the community, it’s a good thing to do. We need it.”
Food Bank volunteer Amber Summerhayes said Williams is “awesome.” In the past year, they have started to expand the food bank and are buying a new building.
“He’s a great leader and brings everyone together,” she said. “It’s like a family here.”
In his spare time, Williams said he likes to spend time with his wife, and has taken on the task of snow blowing the area around his home.