The Value of One, The Power of Many

This week (April 18-24) is Volunteer Appreciation week in Canada and as a social enterprise, that is predominantly staffed by volunteers, it would be a missed opportunity if we didn’t take a moment to celebrate all the volunteers who have helped us in various ways over the last 5 (almost 6) years.

It all started with an idea in 2015, to create an organization that could continue to support individuals who had recently transitioned from being homeless.

There were a number of different ideas on the table until Southridge Jam was created. For this idea to work though, we needed support from people who were passionate about helping, difference-makers who wanted to find a social cause that they could support with an investment of time and a contribution of skills and experience.

Some of those difference makers are still volunteering with us today, like Erma, who has been a volunteer jam maker from the very beginning. Many of our volunteers are from the Southridge congregation and others are members of our Niagara Region community who saw a need and jumped in to help.

Due to our requirement to operate with social distancing guidelines, many of our volunteers have not been able to help out in the last 13 months. Or, have not been able to help in the same ways that they previously did. 

Originally, they were mentors working alongside individuals who have experienced homelessness. These volunteers came hoping to disrupt that cycle of homelessness by being part of a supportive community. Many of our volunteers ended up learning some unexpected life lessons along the way.

With our job skills program paused, some of our volunteers have continued to work during the pandemic (when restrictions permit).

They know that by continuing to contribute to the production of jam, they are still making a difference for The Southridge Shelter.

Net proceeds from jam sales go to shelter programs.

Our volunteers support the work we do on a regular schedule and also step up when something more might be required.

They are loyal. They are passionate. They are priceless. They have helped us to build Southridge Jam. They are Southridge Jam.

Each one of our volunteers is a valued member of our team and together, they are an integral part of our success.

We are grateful for, and appreciate, every single volunteer and every contribution they have made and continue to make. 

Although the pandemic has changed the way we can volunteer, the need for volunteers is still significant. If you are interested in being a volunteer, please still reach out to the organization that interests you, there may be opportunities for contactless volunteering. 

Alternatively, search online for “contactless volunteer opportunities”. 

Sending a special thank-you to all our current volunteers, everyone who has volunteered with us over the years and indeed, all volunteers!

Be safe.