It is not difficult to be part of the solution, says Ron Marshall, who volunteers in several capacities with Gracepoint Church. (Contributed photo)

It is not difficult to be part of the solution, says Ron Marshall, who volunteers in several capacities with Gracepoint Church. (Contributed photo)

Our People, Our Peninsula: ‘Be part of the solution,’ says Ron Marshall

Gracepoint church volunteer wears many hats in service of community

Volunteers are the backbone of a community. In the May 19 edition of the Peace Arch News, we published our second annual Our People, Our Peninsula section, in which we profiled 11 individuals whose volunteer efforts help shape White Rock-South Surrey into the strong and vibrant community we call home. Below is the profile of one such volunteer.

Ron Marshall volunteers at Gracepoint Church community dinner serving the marginalized, he mentors young men in the community, leads a bike group at the church, and together with his wife runs a marriage mentoring ministry.

Q: How long have you been a volunteer with Gracepoint Church and in what capacity?

I have been volunteering in some capacity at Gracepoint for over 25 years. I have been co-ordinating and doing marriage mentoring in concert with my wife for five years. When COVID came on the scene I was launched into retirement. I went through a period of reassessment and decided that I have much more to give. I’m not able to serve in a Third World country, but I can make a difference where I live. In the last two years I have begun working with the Sunday Night Community Dinner, leading a cycling group, and mentoring three young men.

Q: How has volunteering for Gracepoint benefited you as a person?

The satisfaction which comes from helping others is great. When you work with and serve others you build deep and lasting relationships. And being with a group of three “20-something” men I have learned a lot about the issues and challenges in their lives. As a “60-something” man, I gain a good deal of insight, plus they keep me accountable. It’s really a lot of fun hanging out, doing life and going deep into important conversations with these guys.

Q: Why is it important to you to volunteer your time?

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. We are all concerned about issues in our community. But for me, being concerned or complaining about something isn’t enough. For example, recently the term “food insecurity” has been in the spotlight. For 25+ years Gracepoint has been serving over 4,000 meals per year at the Sunday Night Community Dinner. And it is more than just food. We have fostered a community among the people coming for the dinner. I have always respected that and I decided it was time to be a part of it.

Q: What advice to you have for people who are thinking about becoming a volunteer for the first time?

It is not difficult to be part of the solution. Just volunteer when and where you can. Look for something which inspires you. Get in touch with a food bank, with a charitable thrift store or look for opportunities. And a couple of hours once a week is not a huge commitment. There are opportunities out there.

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