A Great Team Building Experience at The Calgary Mustard Seed
On November 1 we sponsored a lunch at The Mustard Seed here in Calgary. Our team covered the associated costs and spent a good chunk of the day working with the staff and volunteers at The Mustard Seed to prepare and serve a meal for those in need.
It was an amazing and humbling experience that has helped us truly understand the effort, commitment, and passion the team at The Mustard Seed demonstrates every day.
Our day began at 9:30 am when we joined an extraordinary and caring Mustard Seed team in their beautiful and spotless commercial kitchen. They were incredibly organized and provided a specific role to each of us. The staff was so friendly and fun to work with while remaining focused and professional. The head chef, Gerardo Enriquez, could probably win if he went on the show Top Chef Canada. He clearly has a love for what he does, and said to us, “I try to come up with the absolute best meals possible, with the little money I have to work with.” The meal he came up with this day, without exaggerating, could have been served at a high-end restaurant.
At 11:30 am we were given a tour of the facility by the Shelter Volunteer Coordinator, Zenaida Etheridge. She discussed the importance of having a complete drug and alcohol-free building. Zenaida also explained how the majority of the people who come to the facility for food and shelter are men and many of them work in construction.
We were very surprised by the dormitory, which is made up of 370 mats that share a common space. While lacking privacy, this arrangement allows The Mustard Seed to help a larger number of people in need. These mats are cleaned and sanitized daily and then made ready for new occupants.
The focus on high occupancy really frames how important the Mustard Seed is while demonstrating just how large a need Calgary’s homeless have.
At noon, we came back into the kitchen and began serving food. We worked in an assembly line to serve our guests. As each guest came to the window they greeted us with gratitude and a sincere smile. It was such a humbling experience for all of us.
As an organization, we truly feel that we get a lot out of this type of work. Charitable work like this is not just the right thing to do, but it provides a powerful and humbling experience for our team. It brought us all closer together that day and made us realize we are not just a cleaning company, we’re also neighbours and friends you can call on when you need a helping hand.
As we have the manpower (time), and a little money (treasure), we have an extraordinary opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives and in our community.
We would like to extend a grateful and sincere thank you to everyone at The Mustard Seed, and especially a big thank you to Zenaida Etheridge and Jordan Hamilton (Corporate Development Officer) who helped coordinate this profound experience.
If you have the ability to bring your team to the Seed, not only will you do something great for our community, but you will also receive an invaluable and one-of-a-kind team building experience. We strongly recommend it.