The Stats:
1-10: Average number of hours that millennials volunteer each year
8,000: Number of registered charities in Toronto
85,000: Number of registered charities in Canada
15,400,000: Number of Canadians who volunteered in 2013
2 Billion: Number of hours that these volunteers contributed

One of the most important lessons that I learned as a child, was that one does not need to have money in order to be charitable.

There are many ways to “give back” other than making a financial contribution. Whether it’s people to work in the field, man social media, or help staff a fundraising event, your time is of great value to a charity. Your time equals money.

Volunteers are an indispensable part of the charity landscape. Since volunteering is very much part of the Canadian ethos, I’ve decided to introduce you to 5 nonprofits in Toronto that I recently discovered that you might consider volunteering for. (In future posts, we’ll look at charities in other Canadian cities)

Furniture Bank
Furniture Bank takes your gently used furniture and offers it to people who need furniture. This includes families who have transitioned after homelessness, recently arrived refugees, and women and children escaping abusive situations. Furniture Bank is a social enterprise which picks up the furniture from you and distributes it throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Every year Furniture Bank redistributes 5 million pounds of furniture. In 2015, over 61,000 items of furniture were donated.

Last year, over 1,400 volunteers gave more than 10,000 hours of time to help serve over 7,500 individuals who required this charity’s service. Volunteer now to assist clients to select furniture for their newly established homes or to help prepare furniture for delivery in Furniture Bank’s warehouse.

Pathways to Education
Every year, thousands of Canadian students drop out of high school. The toll on communities, the justice system and the overall economy are staggering.

Pathways to Education helps youth from low-income communities graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education, training, or employment. Through this all-encompassing program, graduation rates have improved by an average of 75% and 73% of all students who graduated from high school while in the Pathways Program have gone on to post-secondary education or training.

Pathways needs volunteers to “help make Canada a graduation nation.” Learn more about becoming a tutor or mentor.

FEAT for Children of Incarcerated Parents was founded in 2011 to support the needs of the over 50,000 children in Ontario that have a parent in the criminal justice system. These innocent children face family instability, economic insecurity, loss of self-esteem and societal stigmatization.

FEAT offers these children support, advocates for their rights and provides them with a framework aimed at improving their emotional and physical well-being. FEAT gets involved early in order to help the child overcome the many challenges posed by parental incarceration.

The Redwood
Since 1993, The Redwood has helped women and children live free from domestic abuse. The Redwood provides the emotional, practical and social support that families need to get their lives back on track. They offer employment training, counseling and therapy in order to help rebuild self-esteem, assistance in finding affordable housing, after-school tutoring and many more services.

The Redwood has numerous ways you can volunteer and make a real difference in the lives of people who need a helping hand, a friendly face and a place to turn when all other doors have been shut.

Not Far From The Tree
Torontonians with fruit-bearing trees often have a surplus of fruits that they will not be able to use. Not Far From The Tree (NFFTT) has created a simple proposition: make every fruit count!

Torontonians can register their tree and NFFTT will come pick the fruit. The fruit is then divided three ways: between the homeowners, NFFTT volunteers and local food banks, shelters and community kitchens. Sharing, giving back to the community and a passion for environmentally sustainable living drive NFFTT’s mission and since 2008, 127,679 pounds of fruit have been picked!

Volunteers are needed to help pick and transport fruits. Ready to get your hands dirty?

There are many volunteering opportunities available throughout Toronto. I’d love to hear from you: Which charities do you volunteer for?

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