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Food Banker Spotlight – Dan Irwin

We are always interested in hearing more about the individuals in food banking across Canada! This month, our spotlight is on Dan Irwin from the Partners in Mission Foodbank in Kingston.

What is your role in food banking?
I am the Executive Director of the Partners in Mission Food Bank in Kingston, Ont.
 
Describe a typical day in one word. 
Varied.
 
What was your inspiration to get involved in food banking?
The food bank was always my favourite charity. It’s something about the absolute need for food that seemed to call me.
 
What is your greatest achievement in your current role?
Thriving during COVID. We were very quick to make changes and then change the changes, and our flexibility was truly amazing. Our community support has also been amazing, which has enabled us to increase the amount of fresh food we give out.
 
What is your greatest challenge in your current role?
Managing staff and volunteers—always learning and improving. The great thing about us is our individuality, which means there is no one solution to all issues.
 
If you could have one wish granted that would address hunger in Canada what would it be?
That our social support systems be improved and updated. This would be a real step forward.
 
Which talent would you most like to have?
To see the future. My wife thinks I should have said, “Print money,” and whatever comes, print more money to pay for it. I definitely married someone smarter than myself.

If you could tell your younger self advice, what would it be?
Save more and don’t sweat the small stuff—still working on both.

Who are your heroes?  Fictional or real life.
All frontline workers—health care, grocery, retail, restaurants, transportation, food bankers—they do so much to take care of us.
 
What is your idea of happiness?
Outside “puttering around the yard” for a couple of hours, followed by a seat in the shade talking to my wife.
 
What is your motto?
If you see something that needs to be done, do it.
 
Something quirky about you that others may not expect or know?
My son calls me a “weekend warrior” because of the number of “jobs” that I will do around the house on the weekend.
 
Do you know a food bank or food banker that could be featured on our next Spotlight? Contact us at communications@foodbankscanada.ca.