4 ways to start giving back

At this time of year, thankfulness is at the forefront of all of our minds. What better way to express your thankfulness than to pay it forward? Here is a list of organizations that would love for you to spare an hour or two a week of your time (or more if you wish). When you think about it in those terms, we can all spare a little time.

Volunteering isn’t without rewards. The feeling inside when you have helped someone or something that truly appreciates your help is like nothing else in the world. So if you’re having a sad day or tough week, do something for someone and you will instantly feel better. I promise, it works.

1. Helping animals

If animals are your thing, there are quite a few places to help out in Mississauga. Paws & Tails adoptions is a grassroots rescue run by Shirley Cook who is quite the Mother Teresa of animals. She runs the pet adoption centre at the PetSmart in Heartland and is always in search of volunteers to help with the cats in the adoption room. They need feeding, watering, litter cleaning and of course play time! If you’re a cat person, this is a GREAT way to get your cat fix.

If dogs are your thing, have you thought about fostering a dog? There are lots of dog rescues in our area that don’t have a shelter at all. Rather, they place the dogs in foster homes until they get adopted. Depending on the type of home you have and the type of dog you would be willing to look after, the rescue will work with you to make sure it’s a good fit. Of the many dog rescues in the GTA, Fetch & Release is a great one. The rescue covers any vet fees, and they usually supply you with pet food as well. All you need to do is provide love and exercise. They also need other types of help, like dog walking, dog sitting, transportation, etc.

2. Helping people

If people are your thing, Heart House Hospice can always use some help. Volunteers play a key role in every aspect of their programs and services. Volunteer opportunities include providing administrative support, fundraising support, involvement on a special event committee (Gala, Handbags for Hospice, Golf Fore Hospice), providing complementary therapies to palliative individuals and their caregivers, visiting people with a terminal illness in their homes, and/or supporting families on the end of life journey. As a volunteer you could help make a meaningful difference in someone’s end of life experience.

A popular place to help out at this time of year is the Mississauga Food Bank. You can help sort food in the warehouse that goes straight to needy families in our community.

3. Becoming involved in the local arts

The Living Arts Centre has many volunteer positions including usher, gallery attendant and more! How exciting, to be part of the artistic hub of the city while offering your time to a much needed service.

4. Make a financial contribution

If time is truly a constraint, but you have the financial means to make a donation, consider the Community Foundation of Mississauga. One of the most daunting parts about making a financial contribution is which charity to choose. They allow you to donate to multiple local charities while only making one donation. You can let them know what types of charities are important to you and they will direct your donations accordingly.


While these are only a few organizations in our vast community that would appreciate your help, as you can imagine there are hundreds, maybe even thousands. A great resource to find an organization that speaks to your heart is Volunteer MBC. It’s a Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon group that works to connect people like you with a meaningful volunteer placement. Check it out here: http://www.volunteermbc.org.