A View from Downtown: Emilie’s Story

Meet Emilie Brown

When Emilie was growing up in the 1950s, the rule was that you gave to others first, and then to yourself second. She lived close to the railway tracks and the highway into town, and strangers knocked on her family’s door plenty of times.

“Mum always gave them a sandwich or a bowl of soup, or whatever she happened to have on the stove. She never turned anyone away.”

Emilie has always made giving back a priority — whether through volunteering or leaving a gift in her Will to House of Friendship.

Emilie clung to that value throughout her life. She spent 25 years working in insurance, and another 27 years working with senior citizens. That was where she got to combine her passion for helping people with a challenging career.

When she and her husband retired, they decided to move to downtown Kitchener. They ended up only three blocks away from House of Friendship, and when they found out they needed volunteers, she said, “Sign me up.”

She started out as a Friendship Dinner Committee member. Then she started helping with some office work. She’s added volunteering in the shelter’s kitchen, and now she’s at House of Friendship several times a week. Needless to say, she loves it!

“I think giving back to others in this way can make you a better person. It makes you more understanding of the people around you, the people you see on the street who are having a hard time of it.”

Emilie and her husband John decided to take the next step and also leave a gift in their Will to House of Friendship. Because they see how those gifts are used every day, they trust they’ll be put to really good use.