Volunteer Markham Wants to Know Why Residents Give Back to Their Community with New Contest

Story Contest
Story Contest

(MARKHAM, ONTARIO)​ – Given recent events around COVID-19, an increasing number of volunteers are really stepping in to help. With National Volunteer Week coming up (April 19-25, 2020), Volunteer Markham has just launched a brand-new contest campaign; Why Volunteer?

The goal of this campaign is to highlight the many people who are volunteering throughout the community.

We are asking our local residents and community members to submit no more than 200 words sharing their reasons as to why they give back. Submissions will be divided into three categories:

1. Fundraising
2. Community Development
3. Personal Growth

We want to know what makes someone jump in and help.

“How do we best recognize the many people that give of their time when the community is in a State of Emergency? Volunteer Markham wholeheartedly is inspired by the actions of others. As National Volunteer Week approaches us we want to collect and share those stories of inspiration in the hopes that it brings an even stronger feeling of community and togetherness.

Please join us in saying “thank you” and highlighting those special volunteers that have been supporting their communities all year and to those volunteers that have stepped up for the first time now when they were needed!

In light of what’s going on in our city, please take a moment to share your story or the story of someone you know, and spread the impact of their actions.” says Mirja Raita, Executive Director with Volunteer Markham. Stay safe and stay connected!

Contest Highlights

  • Final submission deadline date: April 25, 2020 200-word submission, with optional photos, submitted at ​https://volunteermarkham.ca/tell-us-your-story-contest/
  • Four winners to be announced on May 6, 2020
  • Winners will be selected by Volunteer Markham
  • Prizes: a gift card worth $50 OR a $50 donation to a charity of your choice
  • Winners to be profiled on our website after the contest About Volunteer Markham Volunteer Markham helps build a stronger, more thoughtful community through innovative programs that inspire, inform, and connect volunteers with the organizations that need them. Based in the Markham Civic Centre, we are committed to growing volunteering in Markham by inspiring citizens and connecting the community.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Julie Bannerjea
Chair, Marketing Committee
Volunteer Markham


Mirja Raita
Executive Director
Volunteer Markham


In today’s unprecedented environment, with the world in a State of Emergency, there are always communities and individuals ready and willing to help. In a pandemic, this becomes even more challenging when we cannot physically get together. Communities, organizations and individuals are all responsible to be diligent at Social Distancing. This is taking ACTION! This is making a difference!

There are new and emerging ways that individuals can contribute and an increasing need for support now, and in the near future, to ensure the health of our communities, charities and non-profits. As many organizations work through how to protect their communities safely and responsibly, we all need to remain patient and understanding. There are numerous resources available at Volunteer Canada https://volunteer.ca for both organizations and volunteers.

Volunteer Markham is here to help connect you to needed support! Please review the following list of ways to make a difference locally!

National COVID-19 Volunteer Recruitment Campaign – We need you!

The Government of Canada is working with provincial and territorial governments to respond to COVID-19. They are seeking volunteers to help in the following areas: 

1. Case tracking and contact tracing;
2. Health system surge capacity;
3. Case data collection and reporting.

For more information please click on: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-service-commission/national-covid-19-recruitment-campaign-we-need-you.html

Markham Cares Food Drive: Donate food items at any Markham Fire Station or at Longos, No Frills, Fresh Co, Whole Food Market. For more information click on https://www.markham.ca/wps/portal/home

Canada Sews – York Region:  This wonderful community initiative in Markham has grown to support all of York Region.  On April 21, 2020 8,000 ladies and gents across Canada have sewn more than 20,000 face masks, headbands, scrub caps and scrub bags for frontline workers, shelters, seniors and First Nations communities.  Volunteers are sewing, delivering, donating materials and helping to administer to help our community stay as safe as possible.  If you would like to help or are a frontline worker in need of any of these items please email canadasews.markham@gmail.com .  For more information click on https://www.facebook.com/groups/canadasewsmarkham/

CHATS: We know seniors are experiencing new challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but CHATS is here to help. CHATS have adapted some of their existing supports and have come up with some new ways to help. Urgently needs Personal Protective Equipment. Call 905-713-6596 to learn more about Telephone Socials, Telephone Security Checks and Visits, Meals on Wheels, Supports for Caregivers and how you can help. Please consider donating to CHATS. CHATS is in urgent need for Personal Protection Equipment for their front line workers. http://www.chats.on.ca

KIDS Help Phone needs you!  You can practice social distancing and still ensure that you are helping kids when kids need someone.  For three decades, young people have been reaching out to Kids Help Phone for the support they need.  In 2018, in partnership with Crisis Text Line, Kids Help Phone launched the first ever 24/7, free, nationwide texting service. Through Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone, young people can chat confidentially with trained, volunteer Crisis Responders.  Learn how to volunteer and/or support Kids Help Phone now at https://kidshelpphone.ca/get-involved/participate/call-volunteers-crisis-text-line/ 

Markham Stouffville Hospital: Urgently needs Personal Protective Equipment . Click https://www.helpmsh.ca/ for more information (including how to create or support an online fundraiser).

Mon Sheong Foundation: Urgently needs Personal Protective Equipment (Level 2 Masks, masks with face shields, washable gowns, disposable gowns). Visit http://www.monsheong.org for various ways of giving or email samanthaho@monsheong.org.

Nanny Angel Network: Volunteers Needed. Volunteer support has been moved to a virtual opportunity to help mothers with cancer and their children. Email:
volunteer@nannyangelnetwork.com to learn more or to help.

Participation House “Making life better for people with disabilities”: Volunteers are needed to do grocery shopping for essential items. They have 4 locations in Markham for drop off  https://participationhouse.net/   Please email prerna.mehta@participationhouse.net

Yellow Brick House: Emergency Shelter is remaining operational as an essential service. Please visit https://www.yellowbrickhouse.org/ and review their “Wish List”. All donated items must be new.

Please remember, there are many ways to give!

You can donate financially to a charity of choice at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/

You can donate blood. Learn more at http://www.blood.ca

You can write letters or draw pictures for seniors or health care workers! Once completed you could snap a picture and email it to mirja.raita@volunteermarkham.ca

Currently, there is an emerging request for sewers to create “at home” face masks (not to be substituted for the PPE requirements for front line workers) for individual use. For more information on how to make these masks or where you can donate them please contact mirja.raita@volunteermarkham.ca

You NEED to stay safe, stay informed and stay connected!

Together we will get through this!