When Sylvie moved to Toronto in 2017 to study medicine, she wanted to find a place to volunteer. Having moved between various cities, volunteering was always a priority, as it helped her feel connected and settled in a new community. YSM’s Food Bank was a great fit – Sylvie soon started volunteering there once a week, helping community members shop for food to best serve their households.
When YSM began offering modified services in March due to the COVID pandemic, a few long-standing volunteers were asked if they would be willing to support staff by coming in once a week. Sylvie didn’t hesitate. “I was happy to return, I really enjoy my time at YSM. Now that I can’t be in the hospital doing clinical duties [for school] it’s nice to feel like I’m helping the community in a different way.
“The line gets longer every day. We pack so many bags of groceries I was thinking we wouldn’t need them all, and food like milk and yogurt would go to waste. But the number of people coming is so high it all gets handed out. The line wraps around the block and, looking out the window, I can see the broad demographic of people, [COVID is] affecting so many people in our community.
“I’m really thankful to YSM for taking me in and welcoming me. Staff have always been so positive, I look forward to coming here each week.”