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Volunteering on Christmas: Soup Kitchens, Helping the Homeless, Shelters, etc.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by milquetoast, Nov 26, 2014.

  1. milquetoast

    milquetoast Senior Member

    Every year around the holidays there is a tremendous amount of interest in volunteering for soup kitchens and homeless shelters, particularly in the Downtown Eastside.

    The sentiment of wanting to feed the hungry and help the poor is a noble one. However, it can be competitive because organizations don't have enough enough positions to meet the huge demand around Christmas time. Volunteer application processes are often long processes (rightfully) because they need to screen out the crazies. Unfortunately, it means that it's very difficult to find a role where you can just drop in. Recruitment and training is typically done way in advance of December. Also, organizations typically aim to recruit volunteers from within the DTES community.

    Sometimes the best way to contribute is to make a donation to keep these programs running. I don't want to discourage anyone from volunteering but I implore those interested to consider volunteering outside of the holidays when demand is lower and need is higher! Organizations are always short on long term committed volunteers.

    Check out these sites for a place to start:

    General: http://govolunteer.ca/, http://vancouver.craigslist.ca/search/vol
    List of Local Shelters: http://gvss.ca/Directory.html
    Greater Vancouver Food Bank: https://www.foodbank.bc.ca/get-involved
    Quest Food Exchange: http://www.questoutreach.org/volunteer/
    Meals on Wheels: https://www.carebc.ca/volunteering.html, http://www.mealsonwheels-burnaby.com/volunteer.shtml
    Carnegie Centre: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/volunteer-at-carnegie-centre.aspx
    Gathering Place Community Centre: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/make-a-difference-at-the-gathering-place.aspx
    Evelyne Saller Centre: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/evelyne-saller-centre-volunteer.aspx
    Union Gospel Mission: https://www.ugm.ca/take-action/volunteer/
    Covenant House: http://www.covenanthousebc.org/donate/volunteer
    Downtown Eastside Women's Centre: http://dewc.ca/volunteer
    Potluck Catering: http://potluckcatering.org/volunteer/
    WISH Drop-In Centre Society: http://wish-vancouver.net/
    A Loving Spoonful: http://www.alovingspoonful.org/files_2/volunteer.php
    KidSafe Project Society: http://www.kidsafe.ca/how-help/volunteers-committees
    Youth Resource Centres: http://www.pcrs.ca/volunteer

    The organizations that need volunteers the most are small grassroots projects so keep your ear to the ground and do your own research. Speaking from personal experience, you'll also get to be more involved in these positions compared to volunteering with big organizations.

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