Giving back to your community: where you can volunteer during the pandemic

January 28, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Jessica Laurenza

With COVID numbers on the rise province-wide and increasing hesitancy to leave home, vulnerable groups of people need more help and support than ever before. It’s difficult to standby and watch as disadvantaged groups suffer tremendously during the pandemic.

According to BMC Health, volunteering doesn’t just help those who need it; it can decrease depression, improve overall well-being and increase life satisfaction.

If you’re a high school student looking to complete your volunteer hours during the pandemic or a local resident seeking to get involved in the community, here are some organizations who are currently looking for volunteers.

Branching Out Support Services (BOSS) helps individuals with developmental differences by providing therapeutic services, recreation and social opportunities.

Kimberly Van Ryn, Executive Director of Branching Out, notes that although COVID has placed restrictions on the amount of people allowed in a space, there are ongoing ways to get involved. She often posts notices on their Facebook page notifying people that community participation is needed for a particular initiative.

In the summer, Branching Out is collaborating with different organizations such as the Orangeville Food Bank, “And it would be our greatest hope that we could have volunteers then,” Van Ryn explains.

BOSS is located at 5 First St. in Orangeville and Kimberly can be reached at 519-216-0587.

Big Brothers and Big Sisters (BBBS) provides mentorship for youth who have faced adversities such as poor living conditions, family violence, mental health issues or identity issues by providing a safe, trustworthy environment to help connect them to experiences and opportunities to improve their life.

Executive Director, Nancy Stallmach, wants to put a call out to families wishing to enrol their child in this program.

“We would love to hear from both sides – from volunteers and from children too,” Stallmach said.

The core BBBS program is a one-to-one community based program where applicants can be matched with a child in need of support.

The second program is school-based, where youth workers within schools suggest children who could benefit from additional support. This program is also being held virtually and is looking for volunteers to check in with a child once a week to develop a virtual friendship.

“During COVID, children are even more isolated…and for a lot of kids, spending time with their mentor (even if it’s virtually) can be very beneficial,” Stallmach explains.

BBBS of Dufferin is located at 32 First Street in Orangeville and you can reach Nancy at 519-941-6431.

Avalon Care Centre is looking for virtual volunteers to provide one-on-one companionship to residents through FaceTime or Skype. Avalon is located at 355 Broadway and can be reached at 519-941-5161.

Similarly, Tele-Check Dufferin provides a check-in service to support and ensure the safety of seniors wishing to live independently. Tele-Check’s office is located at 25 Centennial Road in Orangeville and their phone number is 519-415-3764.

The Children’s Foundation of Guelph, Wellington & Dufferin helps children in challenging family situations to obtain healthy food which will improve their performance at school and overall well-being. Due to the pandemic, the Foundation has pivoted to ensure vulnerable children are still able to receive healthy food while they study from home.

They are looking for a food packer, who would work out of the Orangeville Food Bank, as well as drivers to pick up the food from the Food Bank and deliver them to homes across Dufferin County. This opportunity is available to both adults and students looking to complete their volunteer hours.

Their head office is in Guelph at 87 Waterloo Avenue or you can reach their team at 519-826-9551 to inquire about local volunteer opportunities.

Organizations are battling with the surge in demand for services combined with the need to follow protocols and keep everyone safe. You can visit to browse upcoming opportunities available in Orangeville and surrounding areas.

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