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'It’s just something you have to do as a human being': Grassroots groups seeking more volunteers

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Giving can take many forms, and a local community group is hoping more people will step up to donate their time and energy.

"We need a lot more volunteers to jump on board," said Julie Sawatzky, founder of 519 Community Collective.

The grassroots community organization operates 27 free tiny pantries along with outreach work that brings food and supplies to encampments and people in need.

"I think that due to the cost of housing, due to the cost of life, due to the cost of groceries, we find that we are experiencing a large growth in need across all of our programs," Sawatzky said.

She says while donations are always welcome, they are short on people who can do the work.

"We have everything from making sandwiches to making meals in the kitchen, doing encampment outreach, going to the encampments, serving food, making those community connections."

Sawatzky says the jobs are for anyone ranging from seniors to high school students looking to fill their volunteering hours.

Chris Osborne volunteers with 519 Community Collective, but has also been on the receiving end of their support.

"On numerous occasions, I have found myself with little to no food and supports, and Julie has gone out of her way to make sure that she provide me with that stuff,” said Osborne. “If it was not for her, I likely would be in a bad place right now," he added.

Despite not having much to give, Osborne says helping out has given him a better sense of purpose.

"It makes me feel like I'm not somebody that's wasting their time … it's just something you have to do as a human being, have to help other people," said Osborne.

Anyone looking to help can contact 519 Community Collective.

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