House of Friendship extends Jesus' ministry

Allison Neufeld describes her work at House of Friendship's food hamper program and how this job connects to her faith.

June 30, 2011 | Young Voices
Emily Loewen | Young Voices Editor
Waterloo, ON

Allison Neufeld went to school to study international development, she had plans of travel and adventure — which is why people are confused that she ended up back home in Waterloo working at House of Friendship, a local service agency. By the end of her degree, however, the 22-year-old realized “the issues of poverty and inequality and things that really bother me about developing countries exist within our own country too,” she said, “and those issues were pretty much untouched within the international development program.”

Searching for a more complete picture of those issues lead Neufeld to a one year social services internship at House of Friendship. The organization encompasses many programs including: emergency food hampers, addictions services, supportive housing and programs for low-income mothers. “I sometimes feel like I’m working five jobs at the same time,” she says, joking that going back to working just one will be a challenge.

For Neufeld the work at House of Friendship means living out her faith. She grew up attending Waterloo Mennonite Brethren, and now goes to Embassy and it’s related church Elevation. She says that caring for the poor and vulnerable is central to Jesus’ ministry throughout the Bible, and her work helps her live out that call.

Though Neufeld has no plans yet after her internship ends she hopes to keep working with the organization, provided she's in Waterloo. “I think if I’m not travelling that I would love to stay involved here,” she said, “in the way that volunteers and staff interact with each other and know each other’s stories and support each other beyond this program, is very much a feeling of almost a family with all of our quirks and funny personalities.”

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