For the Maclean family, volunteering and helping others is second nature.
The Out of the Cold Café is lucky to have volunteers like Linda Maclean because her passion and dedication to helping the less fortunate is insurmountable.
The café is located at 31 Frederick St. in Bradford and is defined by Maclean as a place where people can go to feel a great sense of community. If someone is in need of a hot meal, shelter, friends, or something unique like a ride to the medical clinic, Out of the Cold Café volunteers will step up.
“This is what our team loves to do,” Maclean says. “We know these people pretty much inside out now because we see them almost every day.”
How Maclean and the other volunteers get the donations is a challenge, using the traditional method of knocking on doors and cold calling, but it seems to work. They’ve also acquired help from establishments through referrals and connections.
“I’m basically Uber Eats because I pick up food from different restaurants or individuals around town and deliver it to the café,”Maclean explains.
From there, the volunteers will divide the goods and prep the meals for serving. And nothing goes to waste; if the café has an abundance of something that can’t be
used in one day, it is frozen and used another day.
“Perfect SZN has been an absolute champion,” Maclean says.
The restaurant has been donating food on a regular basis since the beginning and other franchises have followed suit, including Starbucks (both East and West), Costco in Newmarket, and Little Caesars. Some even go as far as providing vegetarian options and assorted desserts.
In addition to the corporate sector, a few of the local churches have recently been participating as well. The generosity of the Bradford community is clearly exceptional when it comes to helping the less fortunate.
Maclean adds “I think they know and understand that there are people out there needing help, but I also believe that most people have a good heart.”
She continues with the idea of compromise; if someone can’t afford to donate large sums of money, perhaps food from their grocery run or just stepping into volunteer once in a while would be just as impactful.
Anyone can make time to help, and Maclean is a perfect example, as she manages to allocate the space in her schedule to volunteer while balancing a full-time job and time with her family. With sincerity, she credits her husband and fellow active community volunteer, Gavin, as being the most eager to help out.
“I just ride his coattails,” she says.
She will often be in discussion with him about an opportunity to help with a drive, fundraiser, or market and automatically plan what they need to do to pitch
in. Their daughter, Emilee, grew up with the same mentality and continues participating when she can.
Maclean stresses the idea of volunteering because everyone could use a helping hand, but not everyone who needs it is willing to ask. It’s up to the individual to reach out and help the less fortunate.
Visit www.wow-living.ca and see how you can help.