Jerry Ward still remembers his first phone call with Farm Bound.
The organic food delivery service reached out to WorkBC to hire two or three part-time employees to help ramp up production. And then Farm Bound met and hired a woman named JK.
“They called us back and said, ‘We’re good.’ We don’t need to hire anyone else,” says Ward, employment advisor, WorkBC. “It really speaks to her work ethic and dedication to the Farm Bound team.”
A big smile reaches across JK’s face when she hears this. It’s a hot afternoon in the late summer as she sits with her advisors Ward and Celena Sandaker in the WorkBC Vernon office. They talk like they’ve known each other far longer than the one year they’ve worked together.
“I was working for a chicken plant before. I worked there for about a year, maybe a year-and-a-half, but it was time to move on,” JK says.
She had put in her time and worked hard, but she knew it wasn’t a good fit long-term. And then a support suggested reaching out to WorkBC. JK met her case managers, Sandaker and Ward, and the trio quickly got to work.
Through WorkBC’s customized employment services program, JK worked with Ward and Sandaker to refine her resume, hone her communications skills and participate in interview workshops.
“We learned about JK and all of her skills, and she has a plethora of skills we could draw upon. All we had to do was find the right fit,” says Ward. “When we walked into Farm Bound, it was an instant connection.”
“You guys made it really easy,” she says to Ward and Sandaker. “You did all the groundwork and stayed with me the whole way.”
After a year of working five days per week with Farm Bound, Sandaker says JK has put her skills, passion and everything she’s learned to work for her new employer.
“The best compliment I can pay JK is that she always thinks like an owner. She’s worked hard and is a part of the company. Not many people think like that,” says Sandaker.
Farm Bound, a fresh produce and specialty foods delivery service, empowers customers to shop for farm fresh products online. Orders are processed in the facility on Kalamalka Lake Road in Vernon before getting shipped to customers across the province.
As a floater, JK gets to see many aspects of the business. From weighing vegetables to putting together baskets and inventorying supplies, JK’s work is critical to the success of the business.
“JK is so flexible. When she was initially hired, it was to clean baskets. They said she was amazing and could do so much more, and she hopped right on that,” says Sandaker. “Essentially, we’re saying that she’s superwoman.”
JK beams as she talks about her work and her coworkers. She loves problem-solving and finding ways to work more effectively. During the 2021 flooding, only a few short months after joining the Farm Bound team, JK worked overtime for three weeks to help ensure Farm Bound’s customers got their packages no matter what side of the Coquihalla they were on.
“I was happy to put in my own time,” says JK. “And they go out of their way to accommodate everyone’s needs. I love the people I work with.”
“JK is such a great person and really cares about her job,” adds Jaye Siegmueller, CEO, Farm Bound. “She goes out of her way to do extra little things for her coworkers.”
As JK, Ward and Sandaker reflect on the past year, they all know JK’s customized employment services file is ready to be closed. Over 52 weeks, Sandaker and Ward watched as JK gained independence and built the communication skills she needed to succeed. And even after she has found long-term success, JK knows Sandaker and Ward are always only a phone call away.
In the meantime, JK says she’s excited to learn more responsibilities at her job and plans on staying with Farm Bound until retirement.
“But even then, I’ll probably still come in once or twice a week to visit my Farm Bound family,” she smiles.
If you or someone you know is looking for meaningful employment opportunities and support, WorkBC is here to help. Reach out by phone at 250-545-2215 or visit online at workbccentre-vernon.ca.