The first thing you notice about Danny when you walk into The Mustard Seed New Life Community Outreach Centre is his huge smile. For the last seven years, this is where Danny finds his meaning — volunteering in the kitchen and making meals for those in the community who are hungry, homeless, or hurting.

Danny is autistic, but this by no means defines him or his role at the Outreach Centre. To the kitchen staff, he’s just another member of the team who works hard and contributes so much.

“Danny is an incredible asset to our kitchen team,” says Dieter, Head Chef. “He not only offers incredible help but we know that this experience enriches his life too, which is excellent. We always enjoy when he’s here.”

“Danny is an incredible asset to our kitchen team…”

“He is an all-around nice person,” says Nick, a fellow kitchen volunteer. “Danny works hard and is so nice. I just love working with the guy.”

When he isn’t in the Outreach Centre kitchen, you can find Danny busy with his many hobbies. Danny is a well accomplished athlete having won medals at the Special Olympics in both snowshoeing and curling; he also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, donates blood regularly to the Red Cross, and is in a music group where he plays the chimes.

“I enjoy volunteering,” says Danny. “In the kitchen, I like to be around people and make food for our guests. My favourite thing to make is soup — and we make all kinds. It makes me feel good to give back to my community and I have fun working with my friends.”