Sharing a part of one’s self through volunteering

Volunteer Ludin Godinez struggled when she first arrived in Canada in January 2020: in addition to the COVID-19 shutdown in March, she had difficulty navigating a new country, a new language, and a new community. 

But that all changed when she started volunteering for the community; first with the Food Bank, and then with Collingwood Neighbourhood House, where she fondly looks back on helping cook the holiday dinner at Family Place. 

“I really enjoyed it. The chefs really knew what they were doing,” she said. 

This later turned into her volunteering for the monthly Community Kitchen, where she once facilitated a session on Costa Rican food and made dishes for 17 people. Aside from the cooking, she loved the opportunity to talk about her home country. 

“I really enjoyed sharing that part of me, and [having] the opportunity to cook my [cuisine]. It’s not just about you, but your culture,” she said. As of this writing, Ludin will be hosting another Community Kitchen session in late September.

Beyond being a wife and a mother, Ludin is also a student: she is currently enrolled in LINC to develop her English-language skills and is taking classes to become an Early Childhood Education Assistant, with the dream of opening her own home daycare someday. Ludin credits CNH staff member Hannah Balba in supporting her with her goals. 

“She helped me with my cover letter, my resume, my driving test, and even printing stuff… the little things, even though they’re not her responsibility. I don’t see Hannah as an employee; I see her more as a friend,” Ludin said.

Ludin appreciates the opportunity to volunteer and be part of the community; she encourages others to get involved as well. 

“Just do it. You can give back to the community and be part of that; you also receive more than you think you give. If you’re thinking you want to be a volunteer and you want to help—no, they help you.”

For more information about volunteering with CNH, please visit