Project Generation Logo

What is Project: GENERAT1ON?

At YSM we have an audacious and aspirational vision: to eradicate chronic poverty in Toronto in just one generation. While we have a plan to achieve this vision, we know we can’t do it alone. Eradicating poverty begins with those experiencing it directly, and will take the hands and hearts of many players, including governments, other agencies, and caring individuals like you and me, all working together.

We invite those with a heart for our city’s most vulnerable neighbours to come alongside YSM to consider what skill, talent or opportunity you can share to provide a struggling neighbour a hand up. To help, YSM has launched Project: GENERAT1ON to make it easy for everyone to be part of the solution.

Project: GENERAT1ON is a hands-on group engagement experience that makes giving back fun and meaningful by participating directly in the life-changing programs and services offered by YSM in collaboration with our staff, at one of our three downtown Toronto facilities.

By participating in Project: GENERAT1ON you and your team will become a vital part of our vision to end the cycle of poverty for Toronto neighbours in one generation!

1. Food Bank group volunteer experience: stock & sort

With this option, you will stock YSM’s Food Bank with a variety of non-perishable and fresh foods to ensure community members can enjoy nutritious meals at home.

Your team will help prepare the Food Bank for the week’s appointments by assisting staff in unloading food delivery trucks, and sorting and organizing foods and other donated goods.

Group Volunteer Opportunities in Toronto at the Food Bank


Mondays from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm

Group size

Up to 5 participants


YSM’s Davis Centre at 270 Gerrard St. E. just west of Parliament

Financial contribution

$1,500 per group

The difference your experience makes

In 2021, YSM addressed over 19,000 visits to our Food Bank, and provided over 9750 take-away meals. We’re now serving over 400 families per week, as they select needed non-perishable foods and fresh groceries including fruit, vegetables, eggs, dairy, meat, and other well-needed supplies.

YSM’s Food Bank ensures parents won’t have to choose between paying their rent and ensuring healthy and nutritious food for their children.

2. Evergreen meal: prepare & serve food for youth

If you choose the Evergreen meal, your team will prepare and serve a meal for up to 100 street-involved youth. The activity includes preparing the food, serving the food, washing dishes, and cleaning up afterwards.

With this option, you will stock YSM’s Food Bank with a variety of non-perishable and fresh foods to ensure community members can enjoy nutritious meals at home.

Your team will help prepare the Food Bank for the week’s appointments by assisting staff in unloading food delivery trucks, and sorting and organizing foods and other donated goods.


  • Lunch Experience: Monday – Friday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • Dinner Experience: Monday – Thursday, 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Group size

  • 5 to 6 participants in the kitchen for either meal
  • On Wednesdays and Thursdays, we can accommodate a group of 6 participants


  • YSM Evergreen Centre for Street-Involved Youth, at 365 Spadina Ave, south of College St. We are across from the Kensington Market area.

Financial contribution

$1,500 per group

Helping families in need and adults experiencing chronic poverty by making meals as a group volunteer in Toronto

The difference your experience makes

Over the course of a year, roughly 5000 of the youth in Toronto (or 1 in 1000) experience homelessness, while many more experience ‘hidden homelessness,’ precarious housing, and/or unsafe living situations. 

Sadly, Toronto is home to the greatest number of homeless young people in Canada.

YSM’s Evergreen Centre provides a wide range of services and programs specifically designed to meet the unique needs of street-involved youth, to move them from merely surviving to thriving, and forward, out of poverty.

3. Double Take Thrift Store: Sort & Prepare Clothing

If you want the thrift store experience, your group will sort and prepare clothing items for sale, which supports our retail employment training initiative.

Your experience will include unpacking, sorting, and organizing clothing donations, pricing items, organizing retail areas, sizing and/or measuring items for our online thrift store. And it may include upcycling, crafting, and sewing for specialized groups.

Group Volunteer Opportunities in Toronto, Double Take Thrift Store


  • Morning Shift: Monday to Friday 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • Afternoon Shift: Monday to Friday 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm

In both cases, the end time can be flexible.

Group size

From 5 to 24 participants


YSM Double Take Thrift Store at 310 Gerrard St. E., just east of Parliament on N. side of Gerrard.

Financial contribution

  • For a group of 5 to 6 participants: $1,500
  • For a group of 7 to 12 participants: $3,000
  • For a group of 13 to 24 participants: $5,000

The difference your experience makes

Over 500,000 Toronto neighbours are experiencing poverty. At YSM, we believe everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and supported as they work to transition out of hardship. Double Take serves as a solution by:

  • Providing hope: Double Take offers affordable clothing and household items to community members. All sale proceeds help fund over 100 programs and services at YSM.
  • Providing employment and training: The store serves as an employment and training initiative for community members seeking Canadian work experience or who have obstacles to regular employment. Working in our store prepares individuals for retail employment opportunities.
  • Providing dignity: We enable YSM program participants and employment training candidates to access a wide selection of affordable clothing – including business attire to wear to job interviews – bought via Double Take gift vouchers.

4. YSM Care Kit Program

Through our partnership with Kits For a Cause, we have an easy-to-use and impactful program that you and your group can use to contribute to in a meaningful, fun and engaging way – host your own kit-packing event and pack kits full of our most needed supplies! This is the perfect option for school groups, corporate volunteers, faith-based organizations and groups of friends

This activity can be completely customized to wherever and whenever works best for you. The YSM Care Kit Program encourages corporate and volunteer groups and donors to pack essential “care kits” for the individuals we support.

To learn more, please contact YSM Community Engagement & Fundraising Specialist Eleanor Edwards at or 416 929 9614 x4212.

We promise it will be fun, easy and massively impactful.

How to plan and book your group volunteer activities

To choose an activity and solidify a date and time your team can come volunteer at YSM, please follow these instructions:

1. Learn about and choose an activity

Choose the group volunteer activity you would like to participate in (and if you’re still unsure, review this section above for an explanation of each activity in detail).

2. Identify dates that work for your group

Map out a few dates and times that would work for your team to come in and volunteer. Make sure you check the availability of each activity above, and select a few dates in case we are already booked up!

3. Contact us to solidify your experience

Contact Eleanor Edwards, Community Engagement & Fundraising Specialist at YSM to discuss your experience and select a date and time that works for everyone. Contact Eleanor by email:, or by phone: (647) 466-1865.

Eleanor will arrange a date and time to connect by phone or virtually, will answer any questions you may have, and discuss volunteer experiences in more detail, including how best to address your group’s needs.

What is corporate volunteering?

Corporate volunteering is a dedicated and intentional effort to offer employer-supported volunteering opportunities to staff, and encouraging them to donate their time to community initiatives. This usually includes offering paid company time for staff to participate in volunteer experiences, as well as making financial contributions (donations).

Corporate volunteering policy

The demand for corporate social responsibility (CSR) is growing, and it is almost a necessity now to ensure your organization is supporting initiatives in your community that your staff believe in, can be proud of, and can participate in themselves.

You can achieve this by having a corporate volunteering policy, which outlines a volunteer program your staff can participate in, and demonstrates not only what you as an organization are contributing to, but how each staff member can contribute.

Impact and benefits of corporate volunteering

There are many documented benefits to corporate volunteering – other than the benefits your community experiences through your donations and volunteer time. According to

  • Approximately $5 billion is raised through workplace giving each year
  • Employees who engage in corporate giving programs have 75% longer tenures with the company
  • 71% of employees say it’s very important to work at a company that supports giving and volunteering
  • 55% of employees would choose to work for a socially responsible company – even if that meant earning a lower salary
  • Almost 60% of companies offer paid time off so their employees can volunteer
  • 93% of employees who volunteer are somewhat satisfied or very satisfied with their employer

Volunteering helps your staff learn new skills and expand their knowledge. Don’t fall behind on corporate social responsibility, and having one of the best corporate volunteer programs. 

Check out the Canadian Code for Employer-Supported Volunteering to learn more!

“Companies that support the volunteering efforts of their employees experience lower staff turnover rates. Research indicates that 80% of employer-supported volunteers believe that group volunteering strengthens their relationships with colleagues. It also helps individuals learn new skills”.

Volunteer Canada

Group Volunteer Opportunities in Toronto, Volunteer Canada Team

Interested in group volunteer opportunities?

Get in contact with us, or fill out our form below to learn more about how your team can contribute to YSM’s volunteer efforts.

    Please note: Indicating your preference does not guarantee your group an engagement opportunity in the season indicated.
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