Happy National Volunteer Week! We are forever indebted to our energetic volunteers for the many hours they have dedicated to helping Homes First and the people we serve. We could not achieve what we do without your amazing support. As a small token of thanks, we have been featuring a different volunteer story every day on our facebook page. We received the following story from our volunteer Alison Grenkie, and believe it voices well why so many folks decide to volunteer:
I was planning a charity bake sale at the company I work for and I wanted to choose a non-profit organization that was doing great things in our community. My research led me to Homes First.
I believe that most people want to help make the world a better place, yet too many of us feel powerless to make any sort of real difference. Our world and its challenges can be dizzying in their enormity. This is why I volunteer, to combat that sense of powerlessness. This is why it’s so exciting to find people with a vision for creating positive change, and why I was so excited to learn about the work that Homes First is doing to make our city a better place.
There are approximately 5,000 people in Toronto who are homeless, and a report on homelessness in Canada that was published in June 2013 estimates that at least 200,000 Canadians experience homelessness every year. That’s an enormous number, certainly enormous enough to create a sense of powerlessness. But this number is still made up of individuals, each with their own unique experience, and most of us who live in Toronto pass at least one or two of these individuals on the street every day.
On the day of my company’s bake sale, many of my coworkers donated above and beyond the price of a cupcake, and many of them told me stories about their own interactions with Toronto’s homeless population. Many expressed guilt about walking past people in need on a regular basis, but their uncertainty about the best way to help – to be part of treating the cause and not just the symptoms – stops them from reaching out to these people.
After raising funds through my bake sale, I had the opportunity to visit Homes First at their main office on 90 Shuter Street, and to be inspired by the amazing people who work there. Without a doubt, the city of Toronto is a better place as a result of their efforts. The great news is that they make it easy to join their efforts:http://bit.ly/1c2Eejc.
– Alison Grenkie, Homes First volunteer