Though Seva’s success has been heavily dependent on the support it gets from the community and its volunteers, the leadership team within Seva is no doubt a major driving force.
In this month’s Newsletter we would like to introduce you to one such person – Angie Rehal. Angie was born in India and came to Canada as a young child. She is a graduate of Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology with a Paralegal Diploma. Angie is presently employed in the Public Sector with the Department of Justice as a paralegal working in the Immigration Law Division. Angie is also the Director & Vice Chair of Seva food bank and has been with Seva for the multiple years starting out at the Wolfdale location participating in client shifts.
Here is a brief Q & A with Angie.
How did you get involved in Seva?
Angie: Seva came into my life when I needed something, but I didn’t realize it at the time. I walked over one day to volunteer at a shift on a Sunday and during that shift I met few of the Board Members. My search for a new charity to volunteer with fell into my lap. I went to Seva because I was so intrigued by the symbol that represents Seva food bank – which is a ‘Khanda’ and that it was a Sikh initiative. At the time, I didn’t think many South Asians would use a food bank, and like many other South Asians, I was under the impression that it served Indians only. As I learned more about the initiatives and communities that Seva food bank served, I realized Seva was on to something much bigger and amazing.
Seva has been much more than just a group that I have been part of as a Board Member. The Board and many of the volunteers have been more than family to me. It is one of the warmest groups of people I have met and feel fortunate to be in their presence.
How did the transition to you becoming a member of the Board take place?
Angie: My transition to the team of Board members occurred fairly quickly. The thing with me is when I dive into something new, I go in full force! I was volunteering every Sunday/ Wednesday for about 3 months and was very eager to take on more responsibilities remotely. I started being the senior volunteer running shifts on Sundays with a consistent crew. To this day the Wolfedale location has the Wednesday & Thursday “crews” which are known as fun shifts. As a result of my engagement and love for the volunteering I was doing – I was asked to join the Board about 3 months into my volunteering and of course I jumped at the opportunity. Since becoming a Board member I have truly enjoyed my role and what I am able to contribute to the team. I look forward to continuing to work with the Seva team and watch it grow.
What is your Role as a Seva Board member?
Angie: As a Board member we are all expected to attend monthly meetings, managing key tasks by working remotely as needed. We all try to be fully available for annual events such as the Radiothon days and Food drive day, so we can be there the full day to make a great impact on our fundraising for the year. As board members, we are also expected to take on a leadership role for one large project a year. For me in the past couple of years it has been managing the annual “Seva Spark” Gala. I love working on the gala committee, it gives me an opportunity to work with many new volunteers each year and many community members that help make the gala a success each year. Save the DATE coming soon for 2017.
What is the biggest growth opportunity that Seva has provided you as part of being the Seva team?
Angie: The biggest growth opportunity for me has been growing my skills in networking; meeting so many new people, who along this journey I may have helped or have helped me in some way. My biggest achievement to date has been putting my giving to work by helping a few food bank clients outside the volunteering I have done at the Seva food bank. Being able to make a direct difference in some of these clients lives beyond the food bank and engaging with them in areas they needed help has really helped me grow. Many within the community are in dire need. Seva food bank provides food for a week each month, however, if an opportunity arises where I can further extend my assistance beyond that in some other way, I will make my best effort to do so. As a result, out of this process – a few have become good friends outside of Seva food bank.
What gets you happy and giddy and excited?
Angie: Being around people who have the same interests and my tribe of friends make me very giddy. I am most happy helping others, community and working on initiatives which I know will in some way help someone who needs help. I am searching for good energy on a constant basis. I enjoy yoga, running (much less lately). My latest little venture of creating Ghee at home and launching a small business has given me much joy after dealing with a very tragic event this summer. Ghee making and hunting down the perfect butter to create my product has given me a passion to keep my mind busy and away from being nonproductive.
What is your personal vision for Seva?
Angie: My personal vision has been the same for a few years now; I would love to see Seva grow into a community kitchen and learning hub. Community kitchen would allow the Seva team and community to come together over food, and also learn at the same time. The concept of a hub would allow us to offer a safe space for teens, women, children, seniors where they could gather, share experiences and their life lessons. I see the hub and Kitchen buzzing with conversation, food, laughter and yet still keeping in line with our main goals as a food bank running smoothly as it does currently.
Any other thoughts…
Angie: I feel like we at different times are all flying with black capes trying to make sure we meet deadlines behind the scenes which keep the food bank running. We have added a few new board members and that helped us tremendously in alleviating some of the pressures we had just about a year ago.
We are always on the search for new members, which we do so by watching and learning about volunteers that come in who dedicate their time and energy to Seva. The process may be a long one to the Board, however, the position on the board is fulfilling in all aspects and we are a little family with not just the Board but all the employees and volunteers. “We are only as strong as we are because the whole team is strong with each other”.
Prior to be involved with Seva, Angie volunteered with and continues to support multiple causes that are near and dear to her heart;
- President and Secretary for Peel School Board for multiple years at her children’s school
- Program Captain at the Canadian Cancer Society overseeing the Daffodil Program for multiple years
- Participating member of ‘100 Women Who Care” supporting multiple community charities
- Fundraising support for various programs at Big Brothers and Big Sisters within Peel
- Supporting ‘Stems Cells for Cierra’ by raising awareness and importance of stem cell donation