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Next week is National Volunteer Week – a time to recognize, celebrate and thank Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers, including some very special people we see every week at The Ottawa Mission. Our dedicated, compassionate army of volunteers – an average of 250 a week! – help to care for hundreds of people every day of the year at our shelter.

You feed the hungry, by helping to prepare and serve an average of 1,300 meals every day, and by giving us great support at our special holiday dinners at Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter.

You help organize and distribute hundreds of items of clothing, bringing warmth and a sense of pride to people who have so little.

You give your time to individuals in the Stepping Stones Learning Centre, working one-on-one with students who are trying to reach educational goals that will help them find good jobs.

You bring smiles to the faces of those who often have little to smile about, by pitching in to help run our special bingo and movie nights.

You come by yourself, with your family, or your church, school groups, or co-workers. You give the precious gift of your time. But what this really means is that you are giving the gifts of kindness, compassion and hope to so many who would otherwise feel forgotten – and these gifts are priceless.

Thank you, dear volunteers, for all that you do.

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