Jessica Ouellet sees a future in helping people.
The Coquitlam teen recently graduated from CABE Secondary's teen parenting program and has plans to attend Douglas College next fall, eventually hoping to work with the mentally challenged or troubled youth.
When Ouellet isn't busy with school or taking care of her two-year-old daughter Kaylee-Anne, she can be found in the SHARE food bank warehouse volunteering her time.
"Giving back is really fun," she told The NOW.
However, Ouellet knows first hand just how critical the food bank can be for those in need.
She started using the service when she got pregnant with her daughter.
Once Kaylee-Anne was born, Ouellet was put on SHARE's Tiny Bundles program, which provided essentials for a new mom like milk and fresh fruit.
SHARE also provided counseling and even furniture to the single parent.
Now the family receives diapers and good snack foods for Kaylee-Anne's lunch.
Without the help of the food bank, she isn't sure how she would have made it the last couple years.
"If I didn't have food, I wouldn't be able to do anything," Ouellet said.
"It put food on the table that I might not have been able to put on it."
Not only did the service put food on the table, it allowed her to finish school and pursue her goals of helping people.
But Ouellet loves to give back.
So she did what felt natural, she became a SHARE volunteer.
Every Wednesday for the last year, Ouellet has showed up at the food bank ready to lend a hand.
And this holiday season, she's stepped up her game, volunteering twice a week to help fill the Christmas hampers.
The outgoing teen admits it wasn't easy to turn to the food bank.
"It's hard to take help from people sometimes," Ouellet said.
But once she got to know the staff and other workers, she said they made it feel OK to take help.
And the need is never in short supply.
Having been around the food bank as both client and volunteer, Ouellet said she's never seen the food bank warehouse as bare as this season.
She understands times are tough for a lot of Tri-Cities families.
"Some people forget about others who don't have as much," Ouellet said.
But she was delighted to see the generous spirit of residents last week, when an entire truck was filled during a one-day emergency food drive.
The food drive was so successful, enough food was donated to fill the food bank's Christmas hampers.
Though Ouellet plans to remain a volunteer with SHARE in the meantime, she may not be one for long.
Once college is complete, she has her sights set on working for the society fulltime, ultimately completing the circle.
They're [SHARE] a big part of me," she said.