Food Banker Spotlight – Sharon Palmer

We are always interested in hearing more about the individuals in food banking across Canada! This month, our spotlight is on Sharon Palmer, who is the Executive Director from Barrie Food Bank.

What is your role in food banking?

Executive Director

What are your pronouns?


Describe a typical day in one word. 


What was your inspiration to get involved in food banking?

I volunteered at a Food Bank for a year, and I was struck by the thankfulness of those who came for help. I was also impressed with the work environment – the staff were always very appreciative of volunteers, and I felt my contribution was deeply valued. When the opportunity came to work at a Food Bank, I saw it as a way to leverage the skills I had developed throughout my career while doing something that would truly make a meaningful difference to those in the community who need help.

What is your greatest achievement in your current role?

I am most proud of the transition from a pre-bagged service to a self-service shopping experience. It offers a more dignified experience for the shopper, allows them to select items that meet their dietary needs and reduces waste by not giving out items that won’t be eaten.

What is your greatest challenge in your current role?

Adapting to the increased number of clients.  We are constantly looking for ways to be more efficient, effective and supportive while considering the diverse needs in our community.

If you could have one wish granted that would address hunger in Canada, what would it be?

I wish that the government funded social service programs provided adequate funds to cover basic needs like, housing, food, and health care.

Which talent would you most like to have?  

I would like to be a great public speaker.

If you could tell your younger self advice, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to make a change or take a chance. I think that I have often over-emphasized the risks associated with change vs the benefits.

Who are your heroes?  Fictional or real life

Michelle Obama – She is smart, funny, always herself, and speaks and acts with integrity.

What is your idea of happiness?

I try to find moments of “joy” each and everyday. I find those in music, nature, and by being with people whose company I enjoy.  It is hard to always be “happy,” so I focus on these moments.

What is your motto?

Let’s try it! 

Something quirky about you that others may not expect or know?

I play guitar and mandolin and like to play bluegrass and country music. I’m not a great musician but I love playing music with others just for fun.

Your theme song?

“Try a Little Kindness”

Do you know a food bank or food banker that could be featured on our next Spotlight? Contact us at