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Investing in People and Community Through Volunteering

For Carefor’s Vice-President of Client Care, Marcelle Thibeault, Carefor’s volunteers are woven into the fabric of our organization. “Our organization couldn’t operate without them,” she says. “Volunteers are committed and engaged to our cause. They help us for the right reasons.”

In the six months that Marcelle has been with Carefor she has seen how the efforts of volunteers have touched so many programs and even more lives. From our meal delivery in Eastern Counties to Hospice Cornwall to our adult day programs in Ottawa to our transportation program in Renfrew County and many places in between, volunteers have not only allowed Carefor to provide the volume of services we do each year but also the quality of service.

“Volunteers offer a one-on-one connection with people,” says Marcelle. “For some people, our volunteers can be the only contact they have. They help people be seen and help them deal with challenging times in their lives. They’re an emotional lifeline.”

Volunteering isn’t just one thing. It can be anything from sorting food at a food bank to picking up trash at a park. The type of volunteering that Carefor offers is the interpersonal type that brings people together, creating a connection that benefits not only the client but also the volunteer.

This is the type of volunteering Marcelle is familiar with. Throughout her career she has acted as a mentor to people more junior in their careers giving them her time and expertise to help them learn and grow in their careers. “You have to invest in people,” she says understanding the transactional nature of volunteering. “I have as much to learn from them as they do from me.”

For Marcelle, her experience volunteering was born from the mentorship she received early in her career, which helped her forge her path in nursing. What often brings Carefor’s volunteers to us is their desire to help people, one which they have carried with them through their lives. Many of them are people who are older and whose children have moved out. “They still have a desire to help,” says Marcelle. “Volunteering in support of people helps people contribute in a meaningful way.”

Prior to the pandemic, Carefor benefitted from an unbelievable 1,000 plus volunteers. Since the pandemic, many have been unable to return. “It’s something you see everywhere,” says Marcelle. “People’s families had greater need and people had to make choices.” The ones who have returned and the new volunteers have been invaluable in helping us give seniors in Eastern Ontario the chance to be seen and to feel connected. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering for Carefor, we’d love to speak with you. Visit carefor.ca/volunteer to learn more.