Volunteer Profile: Gabby Cotton
Gabby Cotton has been volunteering with Second Harvest since February 2016: she’s been involved with Hero Days, office volunteering, and Toronto Taste. This year, she’s the Silent Auction Volunteer Lead for Toronto Taste.
Gabby has been passionate about food insecurity since she was a young teen. She was told she was too young when she tried to volunteer with her local food bank back home in Brantford. In her last year of high school, she was driving with her father into Toronto to tour universities; her dad saw a Second Harvest banner over the highway and told her, “you should look into that!” She adds, “I was seventeen and didn’t want to listen to my dad, but then I started university and I was eighteen and I still had this idea, this passion, this is exactly what I wanted to do.” She contacted Marjorie Richards with Second Harvest and has been volunteering with Second Harvest ever since.
Now in her second year at the University of Toronto, she’s majoring in equity studies and is still passionate about global food insecurity and food deserts. She wants to specialize in food insecurity, “Second Harvest is the perfect fit for my interests.”
Her first day was as an office volunteer making phone calls for Toronto Taste. It was intimidating at first, “I felt like I was disturbing everyone and I was quiet and timid, but then I got really excited because I got someone to agree to volunteer that day for an event! I got over the fear of calling people and other people in the office hearing me, which was good because I had to do that for the next four months.” Gabby notes that she has been able to build her confidence and skills through her volunteer work for Second Harvest.
Last year, she assisted the Second Harvest Events and Campaigns Coordinator with Toronto Taste and after a rewardable experience working on event logistics, she has increased her involvement at this year's event.
Gabby’s been running events since she was fifteen, so the organizational aspect isn’t new to her, but she’s learned a lot “seeing it play out on a larger scale. Last year I’d never heard of or been to Toronto Taste and it’s massive.” She continues to volunteer with Second Harvest because “I like it, I like the people here, I get my own position here, which is nice.”