Before and after March 2020. That’s how so much of life is thought about right now, including, for many of us, volunteering with Compassion.

Before March 2020, spending a Sunday morning or Friday evening serving behind a Compassion table was a weekend highlight for many Compassion volunteers across Canada. There’s just something about the particular buzz of kids getting sponsored: forms being filled, pens being borrowed, questions being answered. But it’s more than that. It’s the stories people invite Compassion volunteers into: when they share about a trip they took to meet their sponsored child or how the child they chose to sponsor shares their grandchild’s birthday.

A woman in a blue shirt speaking to another woman at a Compassion booth.

Before March 2020, a hug shared with a friend who had decided to make a donation to Compassion in honour of a life milestone might’ve been a highlight for many of our volunteers. For them, seeing a friend join in a mission they are so passionate about is always a big deal.

Before March 2020, grabbing a meal or coffee with a friend made through volunteering with Compassion might’ve been a fun weeknight outing. Volunteering with Compassion is about more than a ‘good cause’—it’s about community.

After March 2020, so much has changed: from the ways we connect with each other to the ways we volunteer. The buzz of a Compassion event, the joy of seeing a friend join in the mission and in-person connections all look very different or have been put on-hold altogether. And while we’re all navigating a lot of change, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed: our volunteers’ passion for Jesus, kids and the Church.

On National Volunteer Week 2021 (April 18-24), we’re celebrating the amazing Compassion volunteers across Canada who have continued to make an immense impact in their local and global communities even in this unusual and difficult year.

Passion = unchanged

Over the past 12+ months, Compassion volunteers across Canada have continued to serve in beautiful and faithful ways that have resulted in immense impact.

Through our new online fundraising platform alone, Compassion volunteers found creative ways to make an impact. We saw it all: write-a-thons, COVID haircuts, trampoline jumping, bake sales and so much more.

Here are just a few numbers that paint a picture of our community of volunteers this year:

  • Across Canada, we currently have 732 volunteers who advocate, fundraise, present, serve at events and promote Compassion.
  • Even in this unusual year, 52 new volunteers joined our community.
  • 53 volunteers used our new online fundraising tool and collectively raised $124,190.
  • 54 children were sponsored through personal, one-to-one sharing by volunteers.
  • We held seven virtual volunteer gatherings and 20 virtual prayer gatherings, with over 300 volunteers participating.

COVID-19 hasn’t stopped our volunteers’ passion and drive to make a difference in Jesus’ name. If anything, it’s only increased their passion.

Here’s what just a few of our volunteers have had to say over the past year as they’ve continued to partner with Compassion.

A selfie of Andrea with her sponsored child in Tanzania, Sakina.

Andrea from Toronto, ON reflected on her fundraising efforts, which she called Thirty Days of Intentional Compassion:

“What seemed impossible at first (Can I really come up with thirty different things to post about?), and terribly frightening (What if people don’t like my posts?) turned out to be one of those things I wish I had done sooner.

Because the more I practiced generosity, the easier it became to give. The more I focused on God’s heart for the vulnerable, the more I was able to show vulnerability. As I learned to be more compassionate towards those living in extreme poverty across the globe, I also became increasingly compassionate to those living just next door.”

Three siblings sit together at a table with their bookmark product infront of them on the table.

Siblings Elias, Eowyn and Amadeus from Vancouver, BC shared about their efforts to raise money through the sales of their creative product, The Emotional Bookmark:

“We’re very lucky to live in Canada and have income and resources, and sharing is one of our family values. If people buy a bookmark, that’s a gift to us, and so we want to give our own gifts to show our appreciation. We know the pandemic has been hard on everyone, but some kids don’t have proper protection and resources to stay safe and we want everyone to be healthy and safe.”

Timothy, Abigail and their sponsored child James take a selfie.

Timothy and Abigail from Calgary, AB shared a mini-documentary about their 2018 trip to meet their sponsored child James in the Philippines. Along with the short film, they wrote:

“The kids we sponsor have become very special to us. By writing letters to each other, we are able to encourage and tell them that they are loved and cared for.

We chose Compassion because they are child-focused, church-based, and Christ-centred. Compassion’s approach to tackling poverty is long-term and complete. They address the needs of the child, by focusing their program around four core areas in the children’s development: spiritual growth, education, relational development and health.”

To our volunteers: thank you

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we want to take the opportunity to say thank you to our incredible team of volunteers across the country. We are so thankful for the time, talents, energy and resources you invest into the mission of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

We know this year hasn’t been easy. But you’ve proved that the time is always right to do good. Thank you for inspiring us and making such a transformative impact for children living in poverty.

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Whether it’s volunteering or something else, there’s a way for everyone to join in the mission to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

Are you ready to explore how to do some good?

Yes, I want to get involved!

Written by: Alyssa Esparaz

Alyssa is Compassion Canada's Manager of Content and Public Relations, telling stories that inspire and equip the Church to live compassionate lifestyles. She is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, where she studied International Development.