Over the winter break, my family and I were able to volunteer a lot. I would highly recommend it as a family activity. We spent time together, experienced new things and met interesting folks, all while helping others. We are volunteering at a nursing home for residents with advanced dementia. Our highlight was having a professional musician and the former organist for the Toronto Maple Leafs play a Charlie Brown tune for us on his piano!
We also volunteered at Farmhouse Garden Animal Home. We have been helping the animal sanctuary with bake sales and other fundraisers over the past year but, this winter, we began volunteering with the animals and taking care of the barns. With these more physical chores, our highlights were tipping over a huge round straw bale that we dispersed down a chute from the loft to the barn below and then spread as bedding for the cows. We used pitchforks and other farm tools to give hay to cows and horses and the blunt end of the pitchforks to break the ice cover on some of the water barrels. We know our helping helped others directly, and we are the better for it!
We also spent some time at Toronto Animal Services East and OSPCA in Stouffville delivering toys for the animals that my kids and their classes and my students had made. After spending time at the shelters, our family made our New Year’s resolution to volunteer at the shelter more. We’re looking forward to it!
Taunya Ahier is a teacher in the Toronto District School Board and a longtime supporter of the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals.