Volunteerism starts with a simple question

During the holidays many of us make time to help those in need in our community.  While more people volunteer around Christmas, Chanukah and New Year’s than any other time, the needs of our vulnerable citizens continue throughout the year.

At Community Centre 55’s Share A Christmas, hundreds of people gave their time, energy and money to ensure 850 families in our area were provided with food and gifts.

After the photo of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body lying on a Turkish beach caught the world’s attention, many local residents contacted my office to ask the simple question, “How can I give back?”

The groundswell of support which is still building – not only in our community but all over Canada – is a testament to our instinct to help when we’re most needed.

As some of you may have heard, the Salvation Army has submitted a proposal to operate a new shelter at 29 Leslie St. (between Eastern Avenue and Queen Street East).  The ‘New Hope Shelter’ will house homeless men on a temporary basis, and offer food, medical attention and permanent housing support.

I hope that the opening of the shelter in our neighbourhood will engender the same response as the Syrian refugee crisis has. I hope that we will welcome the men who will be housed at the New Hope Shelter because they are, although temporarily, our neighbours.

I hope that we will all ask, “How can I give back?”

There are many ways to share your thoughts and offer your suggestions on how to best make this project a success:

  • Drop in to the open house on Saturday, Jan. 16 any time between 1 and 3 p.m. at the Toronto Fire and EMS Training Centre, 30 Knox. Ave., south of Eastern Ave.
  • Make a presentation at the Community Development and Recreation Committee meeting to be held at city hall on Wednesday, Jan. 27. Contact Carol Kaustinen to register: dcrc@toronto.ca or 416-338-5089.
  • Contact Joy Connelly, a local resident, housing expert and our community liaison: hopeshelteronleslie@gmail.com or 416-466-2371.

Let’s keep the spirit of generosity alive throughout 2016!

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