Volunteering provides a step towards happiness

Gateway of Hope: Shelter Chef Tony Ly

Gateway of Hope: Shelter Chef

The Salvation Army’s Gateway of Hope in Langley offers year-round support for residents and visitors, including the homeless, abused and drug addicts.

It’s also a great place to volunteer.

There are numerous volunteer opportunities, such as helping out in its kitchen/meal centre, thrift store, emergency shelter, administration, cleaning and maintenance, driving and special events. There are also opportunities for those who want to be a greater influence in the organization and running the place.

In the meal centre, Tony Ly describes working at Gateway of Hope.

“I’m a shelter cook and we cook for the homeless, either people going through transitional homes, abused women, drug addicts, just people in need of shelter. We provide them with three full meals a day with two added snacks during the day. They are also provided activities during the week, a place to go, a place to pray, a place for someone to listen to them help them out.

“We also utilize a lot of donations from the community. They play a big role in feeding the homeless. With all the donations we get it helps us out year-round. During the summer, we get  a lot of donations from farmers. During the year we get a lot of donations from big retails and suppliers. Most of our daily duties are dependent on volunteers so its a big help that we have volunteers to help us do the work that we do. Without volunteers, we would still be able to do our job but it’ll be a longer day.”

The broad mission of The Gateway of Hope is to help those who come at their door thorough physical, social, mental and spiritual support. At its website, it says, ” We see our vision being accomplished through partnerships, practical assistance and facilitating life change through the transforming power of Jesus Christ.”

“I started volunteering here a couple of years ago,” said Ly. “I was  working full-time and then I just fell in love with this place. My wife and I both work here. She loves coming here, helping out people, It’s kind of a passion of ours to do.”

He never wanted to become a chef, but after careful thought he decided that was what he was going to do.

“I could be anywhere in the world but I’m here,” he said. ” Money is not the best. Hours are good, people are even better.”

Volunteering as a cook was the last thing on Ly’s mind before he started.

“But I started watching my uncle cook when I was a kid, back when I was in Grade 9. He taught me how to to cook. It was never something I wanted to do growing up. I wanted to travel, so I took a Travel Tourism course and got my degree on that.”

After some time and having a family, travelling was not the best thing to do. Tony went back to his uncle.

“He taught me a few things, then I went to culinary art school, got my degree.”

For Ly, it’s “seeing people come in and having nowhere to go, nowhere to stay, pretty much nothing in their stomachs for days, coming here and having something that we created for them makes my day.”

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