By TOM GODFREY
During the holiday season, people pitch in at their local food banks or shelters to help those in need.
This time of the year brings out the giving in many of us. The rain and cold did not hamper this small group of volunteers as we trudged from door to door to raise awareness and funds to help save our community programs.
We were bundled up as we made the rounds with flyers in hand that were placed among Christmas cards and letters in mailboxes for residents of one Toronto neighbourhood.
Today there were no angry dogs or homeowners yelling for us to get off their property. Many people were in a holiday mood and some delighted to see us and learn about the free services offered to Etobicoke seniors, families and children in need.
Most agencies these days send by bulk mail thousands of letters or brochures seeking donations. The donor will never know where their funds are being used.
We are personally circulating information to make residents aware of the non-profit LAMP Community Health Centre, which has been operating for decades on Fifth St., providing free health care, services and other programs.
LAMP, like most non-profit agencies, operates on a shoestring budget with the help of dozens of volunteers. It stages several fundraisers yearly to help fund its many programs. Most of the funding is obtained from government grants.
It is encouraging to see residents taking interest in our services again, with some even promising to give us another look or make a donation in the New Year.
Still, many others were glad to accept the information and pass it on to family or friends, who it is hoped will volunteer at some point.
Many of the homeowners in this area are seniors, who are no strangers to volunteerism. The women, I am told, built weapons at a former military depot during WWII, while many of the men saw service abroad.
Today, Robbie Adams, Julia Gak and I crisscross driveways along empty streets circulating our literature. The leaves are all gone and patches of snow slow our walk.
A motorist pulled over and asked if we were lost. The man said he was familiar with the agency and was soon waving one of our flyers. He promised to look into volunteering next year.
It is encouraging to get that positive feedback from the community. The agency may have a bumper year in 2015 if everyone lives up to their promise and volunteer or donate.
By now my fingers were starting to get numb from the cold. I made my way to a church and went inside to leave our info. The church attendant vowed to help circulate our pamphlets to the congregation.
In these days of restraints, it is important for those in need to know about LAMP’s free health, medical and dental care. There are also programs for youth, children and families; such as prenatal and postnatal care.
There are many support services as an adult drop-in, harm reduction, community development and adult learning.
It is nice to see people during this fast-paced time of the year slowing down to reflect and pause to take stock of all the good things that we have to celebrate.
After all, we live in a relative peaceful country and for the most part we have a government and police that will more likely, than not, listen to its citizens rather than indiscriminately throw us in jail.
We take so much for granted that we sometimes forget about the little things, like issues in our community that make our lives richer and fuller.
Thanks to Robbie and Julia, today we made a difference and may have provided guidance for some. We are hoping some residents may come in for help or seek company during the holiday season.
People are generally good in nature as we have seen from going door to door. Many welcomed us and we welcome you.
Happy New Year!