A reliable “Hubber” for years

Long hours, no pay – and that’s just fine

Maryann Van Lent grew up on a farm with everything from pigs to peacocks just outside of Red Deer, so she says she knows about hard work. Van Lent, 52, is one of the many volunteers with disabilities who dedicate hour after hour to various organizations around the city — and for nothing in return.

Maryann Van Lent grew up on a farm with everything from pigs to peacocks just outside of Red Deer, so she says she knows about hard work.

Van Lent, 52, is one of the many volunteers with disabilities who dedicate hour after hour to various organizations around the city — and for nothing in return.

A proud “Hubber,” she is the face you can bank on seeing every week, no matter what else is going on in her calendar, selling chocolate bars and pop at the Friday Markets at the Hub on Ross. Van Lent has been assisting the weekly markets for three years and has no plans of quitting.

“I like selling the drinks and candy … seeing people . … It helps,” she said, referring to the fact that all the proceeds go towards the local charity and soup kitchen Loaves and Fishes.

“She’s just very helpful and everyone knows her,” said Van Lent’s community support worker Kelli Condon. “That’s part of what we enjoy, too, about coming here; the relationships you develop with the people who are here. It’s another little family.”

Twyla Lapointe, the community development co-ordinator at The Hub, said The Hub is a special space for those with developmental disabilities to be leaders.

“So they are your hosts here and they are hard at work fundraising and helping us with programming and cultural advance. … And fostering inclusive communities is what we’re all about,” Lapointe said.

She described Van Lent as a “ready” person, “ready to help, pitch in, be kind and do whatever she can.”

“She’s choosing to share her gift here at The Hub and choosing to help and I know how important it is to her because she’s always asking about what’s coming next, what can she do. … We love that enthusiasm.”

Being an active Hubber isn’t all Van Lent has on her plate. On Wednesdays, she and Condon also spend about two hours making lunches for school children at Loaves and Fishes. Van Lent said they make about 225 lunches but she doesn’t get tired of it.

“Anything that makes her happy, we do it,” Condon said.

Van Lent’s previous community support worker of 15 years, Kelly Masko, was instrumental in jump-starting Van Lent’s passion for volunteering, Condon said, introducing her to new things and people.

But she said Van Lent, a middle child with three older brothers and five sisters, has always had an inkling to “do her part” and two of her sisters are also big-time volunteers at the Bibles for Missions Thrift Store in Red Deer.

Van Lent has also been the keeper of plants at Hunting Hills High School for the past 16 years. Armed with fertilizer and her watering unit, she hits the empty halls every Friday evening for a couple hours to make sure no green leaves wilt in any of the massive planters at the school.

“I like plants, gardening,” Van Lent said. She also helps out with the flower beds around her group home in West Park.

Her green thumb is handy in the kitchen, too, said Condon. The pair help out once a month baking up a storm for the Ronald McDonald House of Central Alberta.

“I like to be busy,” Van Lent said, smiling and shrugging off a comment on the amount of her volunteering hours per week.

She’s also an avid scrapbooker, bingo player and Tim McGraw fan. After 12 years of saving, Van Lent took a trip to Las Vegas in February with friends to see the country singer perform. McGraw came off stage and sang directly to her in the front row, she said, grinning from ear to ear, her hands clasped.

What’s next for her?

More volunteering of course, she said, and hopefully in the next few years: “Disneyland!”


Just Posted

WATCH: Rappelling down Red Deer’s Stantec Building a thrilling, scary experience

Advocate reporter chronicles his trip down the 13-storey buildling

Red Deer raises $60,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation

27 brave residents rappell down Stantec Building

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Woman killed in collision near Olds

A woman is dead after a collision west of Olds Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

HMCS St. John’s to return to Halifax after six-month deployment overseas

HALIFAX — The countdown is on for the homecoming of a Halifax-class… Continue reading

Trump says lawyer taping him may be ‘illegal’

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — The Latest on President Donald Trump and his onetime… Continue reading

Spieth part of 3-way tie for British lead as Woods lurks

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Jordan Spieth has a share of the lead in… Continue reading

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month