Did you know that it takes 500 volunteers to run our operations at full capacity?

Our volunteer workforce is the bedrock of our mission, and one of the incredible ways our community shows up for families going through the unimaginable experience of having a seriously ill child.

We sat down with some of our Front Desk volunteers to ask what they like best about volunteering at RMHC Toronto. Meet Annie, Alesha, Mike and Janice – four of the amazing volunteers who give their time to be of service to people who need them.

“For me it’s about seeing the children, I love when they walk by with big smiles on their faces,” says Annie. A familiar face at the House, Annie has been volunteering with us since 2012.

“I’ve been back for four months since volunteering started up again after the COVID closures,” she explains, “It’s so nice to be back. It’s great to talk to some of our longer term volunteers who have returned. It is really close to our hearts. We just feel so in touch with this place.”

She was first introduced to RMHC Toronto during an open house tour. As she learned about the diversity of programs and support offered by RMHC Toronto, Annie thought to herself, “This is it.” She knew it was the kind of volunteering opportunity she was looking for.

Annie is a volunteer at the Front Desk at our House, but likes to help out with other things, too. On Wednesdays, she helps make sandwiches for families to take on the go, when they’re off to the hospital for the day. And she’s looking forward to volunteering for some of our holiday activities, such as holiday decorating and gift wrapping.

Alesha joined us this past June. She explains that she was looking for an opportunity to give back to the community and RMHC Toronto seemed like the right fit.

“I like talking to my fellow volunteers and greeting everyone as they come in,” she shares. “It’s pretty low commitment and I think you learn new skills from volunteering.”

Janice has been volunteering since about 2016, and has personal reasons for her involvement.

“I have a niece who is a cancer survivor. Her family had to stay here when she was fourteen. She’s thriving at twenty-six now. So there were personal reasons for me to want to support sick children in some way, and this allows me to do that.”

Janice works the Front Desk on Thursday afternoons with Mike, a retired teacher who’s been volunteering here for nine years.

“I’m struck by how hard it is for families who have a sick child,” he says. “How do you even go through that? I can’t even fathom. It’s just beyond my processing capabilities. So, as volunteers, whatever we can do to make things go a little easier, make it feel like home here, that’s what we’re going to do. I was talking to one of the families last weekend and she mentioned that she liked having the volunteers around. She says it’s just so different than a hotel because it’s isolating in a hotel. Here, she can come downstairs and talk to a volunteer if she’s feeling anxious. It’s a huge thing for her.”

Long-time volunteer, Mike P.

When asked if they would recommend volunteering at RMHC Toronto to others, all four said an enthusiastic yes.

“It’s an honour to help families at this time in their lives,” says Janice. “It can be difficult. I’ve seen some hard things here. But it’s important, and it’s really rewarding.”

We’re currently recruiting for 250 volunteers to help support our mission at RMHC Toronto House or at one of our Family Rooms at Credit Valley Hospital, Health Sciences North in Sudbury, Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital, Scarborough Health Network, and SickKids Hospital. If you’d be interested in joining us, visit our volunteer page at https://rmhctoronto.ca/how-to-help/volunteer/ to find out more.