Around every corner of our city you will find an everyday hero. In fact, one in two Torontonians is a volunteer. As passionate activists, community leaders, and good samaritans, they bring vibrancy to our city, whether in the midst of a pandemic or not.

Week after week, stories continue to pop up about volunteers helping their communities during the pandemic or fighting for human rights, some stepping up for the first time, others with a legacy of support. They are mask sewers, volunteer drivers, protest organizers, online advocates, connection-builders, and neighbours helping neighbours. The pandemic has sent our global community into a shock, the likes of which have not been seen since the Great Depression, and yet there is more interest in giving back than ever before.

To meet growing community needs, volunteers have found new ways to help others. They’re evolving our social fabric because they want to help when they are needed most, working beyond the traditional volunteerism our society has facilitated in the past. Volunteer Toronto, Canada’s largest volunteer centre, shares that nearly 100,000 people have stepped up to support new or grassroots efforts during the pandemic. There are so many more waiting to be tapped for the right role, or waiting to come across the right cause.

The landscape of volunteerism is evolving and the effectiveness of mutual aid, grassroots organizing, and digital community engagement are not specific to today. They are the future. COVID-19 has sparked the reimagining of giving back, shepherded by a new wave of everyday heroes who want to make a positive impact in their communities today.

There is an opportunity ahead. An opportunity to weave a new, stronger society led by the examples of those who responded in our community when we needed them most. The role of volunteers is being reimagined right now—how will you be a part of it?

Get involved at volunteertoronto.ca

“[Volunteers] are an integral and important part of community support. Yet it is when we face our most difficult challenges, we truly realize the need to be there for one another and the unique spirit of those who choose to volunteer,”

—Maryann Istiloglu,
Board Chair and volunteer with
Volunteer Toronto.

“Whether or not you understand what someone is going through, there is a joy in knowing you helped them.”

 

—Bernard Laryea,
Founder of the Dare to be Different
Mindset Program

“Giving back is not just about donating to charity. It’s about physically giving time, giving energy, and giving of ourselves.

 

—Angela Singer-Butler,
Volunteer & Project Sunshine
Board Member

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Volunteer Toronto is Canada’s largest volunteer centre with over 40 years of experience connecting volunteers to the organizations that need them.

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