President & CEO, Volunteer Canada
A noticeable national surge of compassion and innovation shown by volunteers and the non-profit and charitable sector during the COVID-19 outbreak has been truly awe-inspiring and a source of hope for so many.
Supporting vulnerable people and continuing essential services while staying safe and practising physical distancing has been a challenging tightrope to walk. But all across Canada, the challenge is being embraced by volunteers of all ages.
Governments, businesses, and community organizations have stretched their resources and adapted their policies to respond. It’s time to applaud every volunteer who has stepped up, stepped cautiously, and, at times, stepped back in response to this pandemic.
National Volunteer Week is a time to highlight the enormous contributions of Canada’s volunteers. People are formally volunteering through organizations and checking in with family, friends, and neighbours. When you see groceries at a front door, chances are a volunteer delivered them. When you call a help line, a volunteer is there to listen to you and help you find support. Volunteers are continuing to drive people to doctor’s appointments, bring them hot meals, and help out in shelters.
It’s time to applaud every volunteer who has stepped up, stepped cautiously, and, at times, stepped back in response to this pandemic.
Volunteers who are isolating at home are also continuing to support others. They’re tutoring, mentoring, and connecting with people online. Volunteers are leading sing-alongs, organizing concerts, and teaching yoga. They’re teaching others to participate in online discussions, worship services, and classes. Businesses are finding new ways to support employee volunteering by directing skills, goods, and services to help communities. During this COVID-19 pandemic, new resources are being developed to help people reduce risks and to make volunteering safer for everyone.
Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, Canada already had much to celebrate with close to 13 million Canadians volunteering more than 2 billion hours each year. Volunteer centres in communities work year-round to connect people with organizations and volunteer resource managers match people’s skills and passions to address critical social, economic, and environmental issues.
This year, perhaps more than ever, it’s especially important to thank those who are new to volunteering, those who have continued to volunteer, and the volunteers who are staying back to keep themselves and others safe. Cheers to Canada’s volunteers!