JSS Program & Volunteer Report

Rumiko Suzuki, Coordinator – Volunteers and Community Support Services 

This winter, Ontario experienced its least amount of sunshine in almost 100 years, but through the various programs, JSS created many opportunities for mutual support and heartwarming exchanges.

The 23rd Annual Holiday Drive  

As in previous years, the 2022 Holiday Drive accepted monetary donations to purchase and deliver food and gift cards. Due to the rising cost of living and rents, more households are facing financial difficulties. This time, we were able to provide gifts to 38 families and 97 individuals. The outpouring of support and donations from the community exceeded our expectations and highlighted the strength of our community ties. Volunteers helped with a range of tasks, including card making, publicity, and gift delivery. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those who helped. Thank you so much.

The Konnichiwa Program

Since the pandemic, our friendly visiting service called the Konnichiwa program, which was mainly conducted by phone and Zoom, has gradually resumed in-person visits since the beginning of this year. Providing opportunities to alleviate isolation for seniors, who have had significantly fewer opportunities to interact since the pandemic, is essential, and the demand for this program remains constant. In addition to volunteers who have continued to visit since the pandemic, volunteers who had visited before the pandemic also resumed in-person visits this year, and we have received positive feedback from program users. The program is currently experiencing a shortage of visiting volunteers due to the high demand. If you are interested in volunteering for this program, please contact volunteer@jss.ca for more details.

Online Social Programs

Social programs such as the Craft Club, Singing Club, Hot Lunch Social and Senior Yoga continue to be run online with the help of volunteers. At the Winter Festival and Spring Festival held by the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, the Craft Club members sold handmade items they had created, as well as other donated goods, at our fundraising booth for the first time since the pandemic, which was a great success. We extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who helped with the sales on the day, including the Craft Club members, as well as those who helped with sales, pricing, and donating items. In the future, we would like to gradually increase opportunities for in-person participation while continuing online programs, such as resuming the Singing Club in-person program, in addition to participating in such events.