Learn about homelessness
You are already helping to solve homelessness by learning more about it. Share your new knowledge with your family and friends. The next time someone says something rude or unkind about a homeless person, set the record straight.
Listen to the stories of people who have experienced homelessness. There are speakers’ bureaus that involve formerly homeless people who like to share their stories. Perhaps your teacher could invite one to your classroom or school.
The Dream Team is a group of men and women living with mental illness, living in supportive housing; many of them have been homeless. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-516-1422 ext. 250.Voices from the Street is another speakers’ bureau that raises awareness of homelessness and mental health issues. Contact them at email@example.com or 416-504-1693 ext. 228.
For more information about speakers’ bureaus, visit www.211toronto.ca and type ‘speakers bureau’ in the search feature to get a list of agencies that can send someone out to speak to your group.
There are many choices when it comes to volunteering. You can help at a food bank by sorting food. You can help non-profit agencies raise money at special events. You can even help people learn English in a refugee shelter. Start your search in your own neighbourhood. Chances are good you will find an agency nearby - a drop-in centre, a food bank, or a community centre.
During the holiday season, we post the annual Holiday Wish List, a resource for members of the public looking to donate items or their time to community agencies who serve homeless people. There are many volunteer opportunities available during the holidays. You can find more information about these opportunities on the Wish List.
Tip: Many agencies want you to be 16 or older, so check age and other requirements. www.volunteertoronto.ca is an online matching system for everyone over 13.
Socks are just one of the items you can donate to agencies helping homeless people and those who are poorly housed. Food, clothing, and household items are also needed. Please keep in mind that it is difficult for many agencies to pick up donations. Some agencies have also limited storage space. Please call ahead before dropping off donations.
If you're looking to donate items during the holiday season, check out the annual Holiday Wish List for items needed by community agencies who serve homeless people.
Tip: Call the agency to see what they really need before you donate or start to collect items. Most agencies have a “wish list” of items they could use.
A great way to connect with organizations that can use furniture and other stuff you no longer need is to visit the City of Toronto's ReUseIt program.