North Huron Food Share honours longtime volunteer

·2 min read

WINGHAM – For 18 years, Joyce Johnston has given her time and energy to the North Huron Food Share program, helping others and selflessly ensuring that those who need a little extra help with food are looked after.

On May 31, Johnston decided it was time to retire and handed the responsibility of operations manager over to the other volunteers, who said it would take six people even to begin to do the amount of work she used to do.

On June 27, the people who work with Johnston threw her a retirement party at the Food Share location, serving up hamburgers and hot dogs, and surprising her with a cake.

“I remember back when I started,” Johnston said, speaking to the group of people at the party. “It was Hugh Jarvis, his wife Georgina, Bob Rayford, and Pat Nolan.

“Pat was the one who saw me at the pool one day, and she asked me if I wanted to volunteer. So, I volunteered, and the next week she quit,” Johnston laughed. “And I became the operations manager, just like that.”

Johnston’s coworker, Marilyn King, said, “She will be missed, Joyce was the driving force around here.”

“It’s bittersweet,” Johnston told the Wingham Advance Times in an interview, “I’m ready to retire but I’ll miss it. There are lots of good people here.”

One of the reasons Johnston made the difficult decision to retire was the birth of her first grandchild, Colby, who is now 10 months old.

Johnston said she didn’t want to miss any precious time with Colby.

She also spoke about the tremendous impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on the Food Share program.

“COVID changed things a lot,” she said. “We had to pivot and do things differently, but we did it.”

Johnston’s final words to her friends and coworkers at the party were, “I’ll be back.” She may be gone from the business side of the Food Share program, but she will be popping in once in a while to say “hi” and visit.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times