You don’t have to have deep pockets to make a difference. talks to Canadians who give time and a little money to causes that have touched their hearts
Tknit gnomes and donate what they can. They are the everyday philanthropists whose good deeds bridge the gaps in Canada’s social safety net. Whether they dig out $10 from their wallet or volunteer a few hours a week, they pay it forward by giving time and money to causes that have touched their lives.
There are so many ways to lend a helping hand and you don’t need deep pockets to make a difference. Just look around your community and see who needs assistance, suggests Marco Amati, who runs a hot lunch program in Nova Scotia. “It’s rewarding to open your heart.”
Here are some compassionate Canadians who are responding to those in need.
John Bond, 73, moved clear across the country in 2007 when he retired from pharmaceutical sales, from Vancouver to Sydney, N.S.
Cape Breton faces economic challenges with an unemployment rate of 14 per cent in March 2020, and the population of Sydney has shrunk by eight per cent in the last 15 years as young people leave to find work. Nonetheless, it’s his wife’s hometown, and there is family close by, including a beloved teenage grandson. Eager to become an active part of his new community, Bond jumped at a pastor’s request to sit on the board of a community hot-meal program. Loaves and Fishes, founded 39 years ago, feeds roughly 200 people a day. Its annual budget of $210,160 comes mainly from small donations, while just seven per cent comes from the provincial government. There are just two full-time staff with many more volunteers buttressing the operation. Roughly 70 per cent of the clients are over the age of 50, reports executive director Marco Amati.
To fulfill his board duties, Bond spends time at the former community hall where Loaves and Fishes provides hot nutritious lunches 365 days a year – no questions asked. Bond, who visits twice a week to talk to people and thank the volunteers, describes seeing the face of hunger that “would break your heart. This was the first time I’ve had an understanding,” says Bond, who also donates money, although he prefers not to say how much. “I’ve never been hungry.”
In 2002, doctors discovered Bond had a rare colon cancer usually diagnosed when it’s beyond treatment. Given a clean bill of health after an operation, “I just knew my life had been inexplicably extended, and I needed to be thankful and to do that by giving back to others in either a personal or organizational way,” he says.
Bob and Judy Taylor fell in love at the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada – with the donkeys. The retired couple, both 62, visited the Guelph, Ont.-area farm about 12