Last updated November 2023
MORSL is committed to serving the community however possible, and volunteering is a great way to show solidarity in challenging times and can be a great way to nurture your spiritual life and purpose. Remote volunteering and donating items or money are also good ways to support local organizations.
Life can be stressful and isolating at times, and volunteering can help provide connections and a sense of purpose and stability. It can be a wonderful way to combat restlessness, anxiety, or general boredom. This can be especially rewarding during times that the university closes such as between terms or during breaks. Volunteering provides many of the same benefits of participating in a spiritual community, including a sense of belonging and the joy of giving compassionate service.
What kinds of volunteering experiences are available?
We receive requests from various organizations seeking volunteers - student volunteers included - to help with basic activities such as:
- Home deliveries of food, meals, pharmacy items, and other essential items.
- Calling those in self-isolation to provide support and communication.
- Assisting in homeless shelters to help keep them open and operating according to health guidelines.
When are volunteers needed?
During many times of the year, organizations find themselves short-staffed as dedicated employees take a well-deserved break or as student volunteers leave the city. While there is greater need during times of reduced staff availability in summer, all these organizations need help year 'round. If you find yourself in a position to help others, please consider contacting one of the organizations listed here, or an organization in your home community. Thank you!
Volunteer Opportunities 2023-2024
There is a great need to lend a helping hand, particularly for highly vulnerable populations such as the homeless and those who have little or no income. Here are a few current opportunities to help now:
1. Earthquake Relief Donation Sites - Religious Organizations in Canada/Quebec/Montreal
The sites below are collecting donations for the earthquake that impacted Turkey and Syria.
MSA McGill and Islamic Relief Canada
The Muslim Student Association (MSA) would like to convey its unwavering support to the families and individuals affected by the tragedy in Turkey and Syria. We will be collecting donations through Islamic Relief Canada to provide emergency support to those impacted. Islamic Relief teams are on the ground responding to the disaster, in both Turkey and Syria.
United Church of Canada
Help the people of Türkiye and northern Syria devasted by the earthquake. Click here to donate.
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Aid to Church in Need (ACN) web: https://bit.ly/acn-donate-syria Toll free #: 1-800-585-6333 Ext 228
Canadian Jesuits International (CJI): https://canadianjesuitsinternational.ca Toll free #: 1-800-448-2148
Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) Canada: web: www.cnewa.ca Toll free #: 1-866-322-4441
Development and Peace-Caritas Canada (DPCC): web www.devp.org Toll free #: 1-800-494-1401
St. George Antiochan Orthodox community Donations for earthquake relief
Click here to donate to the 2023 earthquake relief fund
The opportunities below are open to both McGill students, non-McGill students, and general members of the community.
The Open Door (3535 Av. du Parc)
The Open Door, located near campus, is a drop-in centre that provides services and temporary shelter to the homeless and low-income people in downtown Montreal. They need volunteers for all the tasks involved in running this vital service such as laundry, sanitation, kitchen work and welcome station. These shifts are generally between 8AM and 8PM, in 4-hour blocks. SMMU's McGill Students for the Open Door Club helps fill shifts and has their own convenient webform for students. To get involved, contact them at their links below:
Email: mstodm [at] ssmu.ca
To donate items, see drop-off hours and list of items needed
Maison Plein Coeur (1611 Rue Dorion)
Maison Plein Coeur offers a diverse range of volunteer positions in programs that relieve social isolation and poverty (including a food bank, day center, and community suppers) for people living with HIV/aids. You can become a trained volunteer massage therapist in their program or even come offer other special skills and they will find something for you to do there. 😊
Contact: Rab [at] maisonpleincoeur.org, 514 597 0554 ext 227
Accueil Bonneau (420 Saint-Paul E.)
Accueil Bonneau serves the homeless and those at risk of homelessness in a wide variety of ways, striving to help individuals integrate into society in healthy ways. They offer a multi-serve day centre and transitional housing. If interested in volunteering with them, learn more and fill out their volunteer form!
Resilience Montreal (4000 Rue St. Catherine Ouest)
Resilience Montreal is a community-led project established to support the homeless population in the Cabot Square area. It is a wellness center for the most vulnerable and provides a welcoming and safe oasis from the hardships of the streets where people with trauma are honoured, defended and can access services that meet their needs. If you'd like to volunteer, reach out to them at resilience.volunteer [at] gmail.com.
Old Mission Brewery (915 Clark St.)
The Old Brewery Mission works with Montreal’s homeless men and women, meeting their essential needs while finding practical and sustainable solutions to end chronic homelessness. Volunteer activities include helping in the kitchen and serving meals, office administration duties, organizing and supporting events, and donating professional services like legal advice, accounting, translation, graphic design and photography. If you are interested in volunteering, call 514 866-6591 ext.0 or email info [at] missionoldbrewery.ca.
Union United Church (historical Black church, 3007 Delisle Street)
Do you have a moment between papers and exams to help out? You could be of invaluable assistance at Union United Church as a food bank volunteer every Tuesday on site, or by offering your time from the comfort of your home to make some phone calls and do some admin tasks on your computer. Your kindness and generosity are greatly appreciated. Please contact the Outreach coordinator directly by //unionunitedchurchmtl [at] gmail.com">email or by phone at 514 932 8731 ext. 2
Entraide Bénévole Métro 1801, de Maisonneuve Blvd. W. Suite 750
We are a non-profit organization that offers physical and emotional support to seniors experiencing temporary or permanent loss of autonomy within the downtown and Westmount area. Our primary services include friendly visits, grocery shopping, and medical or banking accompaniments, all performed by volunteers. Additionally, we offer an Art Expression program, either group or one-on-one sessions facilitated by volunteers.
We are currently recruiting volunteers for all of our services. We ask for a minimum commitment of two months and a minimum volunteer time of two hours per week according to your schedule. All EBM volunteers receive an orientation, done in person or via video conference call. You will also be required to fill out a standard background check (SPVM verification form).
To become a volunteer, we ask that you complete our volunteer application form.
MADA Community Centre (6875 Decarie Blvd.)
MADA Community Centre provides home-delivered meals, including Shabbat meals, to elderly and disabled. They need volunteers to help assemble and deliver our monthly food baskets to families in the Greater Montreal area.
Sister Sabria Foundation
The Sister Sabria Foundation offers food baskets and emergency food support, especially for Ramadan and COVID-19 challenges. They provide free meals in the community through mosques, churches and community centres, and also run a 14-bed shelter for vulnerable women and their families. For volunteering opportunities, please reach out online or to info [at] sistersabria.org and include a short paragraph about why you’re interested in donating your time to their cause and a copy of your current CV. They also are seeking monetary donations to help them provide services.
The Yellow Door runs a Generations Program in an attempt to help vulnerable and self-isolating seniors. If you are interested in volunteering with them in assisting seniors, please complete the volunteer application. Types of volunteer activities include (see current call-outs on their page) friendly calls (volunteers call (from their cell phone) senior members for a weekly check-in/friendly call), friendly errands (volunteers meet seniors at their door, receive a grocery list and money, run the errands, and deliver the items to the seniors door), and accompaniments (volunteers assist seniors getting to and from critical medical appointments).
Maison de l'amitie/House of Friendship
The Maison de l'amitie promotes the social integration of immigrants (regardless of their status) and reduce cultural and linguistic divisions within the community. Volunteers can come to teach or assist in the teaching of language classes. Download the application form and send it to volunteer [at] maisondelamitie.ca.
DESTA Black Community Network
DESTA supports Black youth aged 18 to 35 in reaching their educational, employability, and entrepreneurial goals through a holistic and individualized approach. Volunteers can support DESTA as tutors, business and professional mentors, administrative support workers, and workshop facilitators. Fill in the application form to apply.
Le Phare is a pediatric palliative care resource in Quebec that offers free services to children with life-shortening illnesses, as well as psychosocial support for their families. Le Phare offers many volunteer roles such as child care, recreational team, personal care support, in-home respite, reception and kitchen services, administrative work, and more. Apply to be a volunteer by filling out the application form.
Old Brewery Mission (915 Clark St.)
Visit their website for a list of articles they need as well as drop-off times and location. Physical donations must be limited to their online list during the winter season. It is also recommended that donated items be labeled to indicate the nature of the donation. Maple syrup is needed for holiday meals in winter 2022-2023.
The Open Door (3535 Avenue du Parc)
The Open Door accepts some donations of clothing, toiletries and food. Please see their Items We Need page, and verify your donation by writing to info [at] opendoortoday.org before bringing clothes.
As part of an effort to encourage Quebeckers to help the most vulnerable among us weather the hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Quebec government set up a volunteer website that collects requests all across the province - not just Montreal. While this site is mostly in French, there is some English content. If you are comfortable in French, have a look and see if you can help. A wide range of categories is available including:
- Health and social services related (helping at food banks, making friendly phone calls or visits to check in on home-bound community members, etc.)
- Cultural activities including animating art sessions at long-term care homes
- Tutoring and language assistance
- Physical activities for the elderly
Many local groups are organizing efforts to bring relief to Ukraine. Below are some opportunities to get involved. You may wish follow volunteer and donation opportunities posted on McGill Ukrainian Students' Association and or Montreal area Ukraine relief information. If there is an opportunity or effort you'd like MORSL to add to this page, please send the information to morsl [at] mcgill.ca.
Ukrainian Mutual Aid of Montreal
Ukrainian Mutual Aid of Montreal has volunteer opportunities helping refugees with various needs, including translating, job and housing searches, meals on wheels and other services.
Donate to Ukraine Emergency Relief Efforts
Diverse opportunities to donate to bring relief to Urkraine listed by Canada Helps.
Ukrainian Newcomers Centre (CDN)
The Ukrainian Newcomers Centre accepts donations of clothing, winter clothing, and household and personal items to distribute them to Ukrainian refugees. They post amazon wishlists of things that individuals need that you can donate. They also accept volunteer help.
Click here to see current opportunities at MORSL.