Skip to main content

Jessica Laidley

Food Resource Centre Manager
United Way Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma District
Jessica Laidley
Jessica Laidley
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

Share on:

Jessica Laidley is a Food Resource Centre Manager for United Way Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma District.

About me

I was born/grew up in: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

I now live in: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

I completed my training/education at: I am a double BA recipient from Algoma University, (History/English and Sociology). I also have a certificate in Sustainable Urban Agriculture from the University of Guelph.

What I do at work

I manage the day-to-day operation of our Food Resource Centre. The goal of this program is to improve food security for the people we serve. I run a warehouse, a commercial kitchen, and an urban farm project. I also supervise three full-time staff and a crew of up to 20 volunteers. I work with provincial and national donors to rescue transport loads of food that can’t be sold. We redistribute this food to 45 community social service organizations.

I work on committees that promote and influence social change. Some of this work is to support those experiencing the negative impacts of poverty. I am trained in Safe Food Handling and as a Forklift Operator. I’m the Health and Safety representative for my workplace and am a trained Master Preserver from the University of Guelph.

To do my work, I depend on a team of skilled and knowledgeable employees. We also rely on some core volunteers. Our clients come from a variety of backgrounds. As a result, we connect with language interpreters to make our programs accessible.

My career path is

I began my post-secondary career with a plan of teaching in high school or working in the Arts. However, life changes and gives you experiences and challenges. I found myself nearly homeless and hungry on more than one occasion. I taught myself skills that I use at my job every day. Between that and my post-secondary education, it gave me a unique perspective to take on all aspects of my work. It also gave me the empathy to help the people who need a hand. Completing a certificate program in Sustainable Urban Agriculture, provided me with knowledge and skills I use in my current role. 

I am motivated by

The main motivation for my work is a fundamental anger with the injustice of those who are trapped in the cycles of poverty. For me, the most exciting and fulfilling aspects of my career is getting good food into the bellies of hungry people. We are working hard to change the system that traps so many.

How I affect peoples’ lives

My work is very important. In my job, social services, advocacy, food, and agriculture come together. This union forms the basis for our work towards poverty reduction. We work to provide a place where people can empower themselves. We do this by offering socialization, networking, and skills development. To date, we have provided nearly one million meals across our community. We continue to uplift those in need.

Outside of work I

I enjoy a wide variety of activities but I’m most happy and relaxed when I can create things. I engage in a variety of fiber arts from knitting to felting to dying and spinning wool.

My advice to others

To work in a poverty reduction program, it is important to understand the complex nature of poverty before trying to develop strategies focused on one area. Poverty is a devious beast! There are deep and complex connections involving race, age, gender as well as economic and other social factors. As a result, things are rarely explained away with one solution.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Drama
  • Foreign Languages
  • Geography
  • History
  • Literature and Language Arts
  • Math
  • Home Economics/Family Studies
  • Foods & Nutrition
  • Industrial Arts
  • Science
  • Philosophy
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Brought people together
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Liked helping people
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Was motivated by success
  • Wanted to be in charge
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Liked being given specific instructions
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Liked reading
  • Was really creative
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
  • Liked to design or build things
  • Engaged in activities such as fishing and berry picking
  • Learned best "by doing"

Related Topics

Explore Career Profiles

  • Brianna Lummerding kneeling by a plastic hoop in a grassy field collecting samples

    Brianna Lummerding

    Career Profiles

    Agronomic Innovation Manager

    I look after all things related to soil management for a group of retailers.
  • Rashell Featherstone headshot

    Rashell Featherstone (she/her)

    Career Profiles

    Senior Program Associate

    I coordinate projects for the development of new products at STEMCELL.
  • Christelle Fournier

    Christelle Fournier

    Career Profiles

    Permaculture guide, Founder of the company Fertiles

    I offer consulting services to organizations, municipalities, indigenous communities, to support them in their eco-citizen projects related to food security.
  • Ashley Arnold headshot

    Ashley Arnold (she/her)

    Career Profiles

    Instrumentation Application Specialist

    I provide technical and scientific support to customers who use equipment and instruments sold by STEMCELL.
  • Zack Anderson headshot

    Zack Anderson (he/him)

    Career Profiles

    Director, Science Connections

    I manage a team of talented individuals and build partnerships to create great programs at the Telus Spark Science Centre.
  • Jose Chiriboga headshot

    Jose Chiriboga (he/him)

    Career Profiles

    Senior Scientific Support Associate

    With my team, I create and deliver training programs to explain how our products can be used to support scientific research and innovation.
  • Genny Marcoux standing in front of a background of human-sized pink and white artificial flowers

    Genny Marcoux

    Career Profiles

    Infrastructure and Security Manager

    I manage a team of experts that create a secure environment for our course developers to build virtual computers that our customers used to learn about the products we sell and to learn more about cybersecurity and how to stay secure online.
  • Dure Butt assise sur une terrasse extérieure avec une ville turque en arrière-plan.

    Dure Butt (she/her)

    Career Profiles

    Operations Associate

    I work in a team that helps streamline the processes used to create support materials for healthcare professionals and patients.
  • Nancy Rogers standing on a rocky outcrop with Labradorite mineral insert

    Nancy Rogers

    Career Profiles

    Genuine Prospector and Craftsperson

    I travel to remote areas looking for signs of minerals and crystals.
  • Mark Derikx devant une usine de fabrication de produits chimiques.

    Mark Derikx

    Career Profiles

    Environmental Health Safety Quality Manager

    I help make sure our chemical plant is following legal operating requirements for employee and community safety.
  • portrait par Shawn Fisher

    Shawn Fisher

    Career Profiles

    CEO and Co-Founder

    I advance sustainable food production at the point of consumption by inventing smart farming appliances.
  • Angie Spierenburg headshot

    Angie Spierenburg (she/her)

    Career Profiles

    Customer Success Manager

    I help create effective strategic partnerships between organizations and customers, by bringing best practices to the table, reducing complexity, and simplifying processes.