We are always interested in hearing more about the individuals in food banking across Canada! This month, our spotlight is on Armand Kayolo from Moisson Outaouais in Gatineau, QC.
What is your role in the food banking network?
I am the Executive Director of Moisson Outaouais, the regional food bank, and I sit on the Board of Directors for Food Banks of Quebec. I was a member of Food Banks Canada’s Network Council and continue to work on some FBC ad-hoc committees, as needed.
Describe a typical day in one word.
I’m a morning person who only needs to say a little prayer, catch up on the news and take a look at my agenda to get started. After making sure everyone is all set and each area is running smoothly, I respond to important and priority messages. Then I plan and attend one, two or three community meetings and make sure all daily objectives have been met before it strikes me that everyone else has already left for the day.
What was your inspiration to get involved in food banking?
I grew up on a farm working in the fields. When I was young, I watched my parents share their surplus with people who didn’t have any, so sharing and helping others have always come naturally to me. Plus, I received food support for a little while when I first arrived here. After university, an opportunity came up to give back to the same service I had received, and I jumped at the chance to get involved with the food bank. It’s going well.
What is your greatest achievement in your current role?
Building and launching a modern food processing kitchen was a major achievement, and we accomplished it together with the entire Moisson Outaouais team and some of our partners. Improving working conditions and, in turn, employee and volunteer wellness is another achievement that was made possible through the construction of a new workspace for operational sector employees. Lastly, improving our infrastructure (fleet renewal and food warehousing expansion) was also an important achievement for our Mission and it diversified financial resources.
What is your greatest challenge in your current role?
More than 80% of our resources come from donations by individuals and local businesses. Ensuring the organization’s sustainability in a changing world, and sometimes at the mercy of economic fluctuations, is a major challenge. Building donor loyalty through sound, transparent management and powerful projects is an ongoing priority for me and my co-workers.
If you could have one wish granted that would address hunger in Canada what would it be?
Eliminate social inequality, guarantee everyone a respectable income and close all food banks across Canada.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I’ve always dreamed of being exceptionally wise and being an excellent peacemaker in my community. I hate conflict of any kind.
If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?
If I could go way back in time, I would have become a vegetarian sooner. I have been since 2015 and I’ve seen a lot of health benefits.
Who are your heroes, fictional or real?
Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba, Indira Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Bob Marley.
What is your idea of happiness?
Accepting that we can’t be perfect and remembering that others aren’t either, drawing inspiration from the past to create our day-to-day lives until the future is remembered.
What is your motto?
Share a problem to divide it and share happiness to multiply it because there is always sunshine above the clouds.
Something quirky about you that others may not expect or know?
I was the first person to operate an African restaurant in downtown Tokyo, Japan (in 1990) and won the second prize in an international cooking contest organized by the Japanese company Kikkoman (Kikkoman sauce is used in some Asian cuisines). Participants from 48 different countries entered the contest.
Your theme song?
“Prendre un enfant” by Yves Duteil.
Do you know a food bank or food banker we could feature in our next Spotlight? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.