noun: home-less

[ Update Oct.2,2011 ]

Welcome to the MissionLog by Andy Coats.  I’ve been helping the homeless since 2001. For a time I was employed as a Community Development Coordinator by Project417, a faith based non-profit in Toronto. What is the work or outreach? — simply, I’ve served the needs of the homeless community, mainly in the Toronto inner city, but also in Brampton, Mississauga.  Simply someone who works – out on the streets – by being in community with the homeless street people.  This included, in large part, delivering food to them, nutritious meals in the form of bag lunches, with volunteers. It also included visiting them and listening to them share their needs, hopes and dreams, and working with other inner city organizations to refer them for help overcoming their homeless condition. That time you passed a few homeless people downtown sitting on the sidewalk or in a park… I was probably sitting there with them.

With Project417  I also took part in Disaster Recovery efforts following natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans or Hurricane Ike in Texas with the Salvation Army.  After all, the victims of these storms are homeless too.

As of May of this year, I’ve been seeking a new job. Funding is always a challenge for small non-profits and homelessness always seems well down on the list of causes people support. I’m confident I can find a good fit for my skills and experience. In the meantime, I continue to be an advocate for the homeless.

Thanks & enjoy my blog!

The Unadressed by fauxreel / Dan Bergeron

The Unadressed by fauxreel / Dan Bergeron

Topics and posts here include –

Help the homeless

Helping the homeless in Toronto

End homelessness and poverty

Volunteer work with the homeless

Volunteer to serve the poor and needy

Volunteer with low income families

Volunteer with street youth and gangs

Donate to charity to help the homeless, end poverty and improve low income families.

25 Responses

  1. Hi Andy,

    I don’t know if you remember me – I was one of Jade’s group who handed food out last year. I was wondering if you needed any help at preparing and serving in the soup kitchen . I know we’re coming as a group in March, but I’d like to help more than just the one day. My schedule’s a little wonky, but I’m available Tuesday or Wednesday nights. Do you know if you can use me? Please let me know – thanks!


  2. Hi Jane,

    Wednesday nights we have a new community dinner program that could use some help – I’ll email you some details. Thanks for asking

  3. Hello Andy,

    I was looking for some volunteer work and ran across your page and wanted to know if you needed any help. I recently finished school and have extra time to help out anyway I can if you needed someone feel free to contact me.

    Thank you,


  4. Andy -I am wondering if your group serve Christmas Dinner. My husband and I would like to volunteer. We are both good in the kitchen – cooking – serving – cleaning up after.

    Please let me know via email and I wil contact you

  5. Hi Andy, I was wondering if you need any help serving Christmas dinner. Me and my sister are more than willing to help the ones in need. An email back would be greatly appreciated.

    Take care.

  6. Dear friends,

    For years I have dreamed about expanding a meal program, which I founded three years ago at West Tororonto Collegiate. This program has served thousand of meals to high school staff and students at no cost to them. I have this urgency to do something similar to assist our most vulnerable….the homeless – who are in need of love, care and guidance. I would like to know if anyone is willing to assist me in delivering love to our homeless in Toronto. Lets spend quality time with our most vulnerable on Christmas Eve, and lets try to give them a little bit of love and the attention they deserved. Post a comment here to help
    Yours, Maria

  7. Andy, any chance you are the Andy Coates that I knew from Homewood AL????

  8. no, sorry – I’m a Canuck…

  9. Hi, i was looking at diffrent websites trying to find a place where my children and I can go volunteer for christmas eve. I am a mother of 5 my older kids are teens now. My oldest son is very good in the kitchen and we are all willing to help in serving and preparing the food. Last year i talked to my children and we talked about how much money we spend on christmas on stuff that we don’t even need. So this year we want to give something back as a family.

  10. I am interested in volunteering around the holidays, perhaps in a soup kitchen on Christmas Eve?

    Please let me know where/how I can obtain info on how to donate my time.


  11. Thanks Priscilla,
    We’ll have several programs running through the Christmas season. Actually the best time to volunteer is now – most homeless charities are swamped with volunteer requests at Christmas, but they are in need year round – Please visit http://Project417.com and drop us an email there, and I can refer you to more volunteer opportunities. Thanks again, Andy: Follow us on Twitter @canayjun and @project417

  12. I used to cook a turkey and a huge pot of potatoes for one of the places that help feed the homeless on Xmas but I have lost the name and moved so she cannot call me. Therefore I am wondering if you need any help with doing this. I can cook it at my home and deliver it to you on Xmas Eve.

    Hope I can help somehow, I am sure u have many hands to help serve etc on Xmas Eve but if not let me know.


  13. Hello,

    My name is Brittany Peckels and I am an intern at Serve Marketing in Milwaukee, WI. Serve is a non-profit marketing agency that works on community awareness projects. Currently, we have teamed up with the Lions Club International and created a viral campaign in hopes of reaching the younger generation of Lions. We created a youtube rap, “Rockin’ the Vest” and would really appreciate it if you would share this video on your blog and/or with all your staff/followers/volunteers. Below is the link for the youtube video:

    Please share because it is important to educate this world about being passionate about service. This is a fun and entertaining way to show what the members of the Lions Club do across the country and world.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!

    In Service,

    Brittany Peckels
    Serve Marketing Intern

  14. Thanks for the cool Lions Club video Brittany. Sharing that on G+, FB, Twitter and Youtube. Keep up the good work! ~ Andy

  15. I am looking to volenteer, for our homeless, on christmas day. Is there any venues my daughter and I could help out?

  16. Most organizations are inumdated with calls for volunteering at Christmas, but try contacting the following –

    The Salvation Army operates several shelters in Toronto and the GTA (they are the largest shelter operator in Canada). Contact them at http://www.salvationarmy.ca/
    Out of the Cold program – at more than 20 churches and temples in Toronto, administered by OOTC

    One of the Out of the Colds that is open this weekend is at University Settlement Community Centre (next to Grange Park)- they are one of the only Out of the Colds running weekends (even tonight Christmas Eve). Contact them at universitysettlement.ca

    Food banks often need extra help this time of year. Consider also shelters for women (and their children) which are operated separately from the homelesss services system. If you can’t find a spot to help out this weekend, please consider helping after the holiday season, when the volunteers are fewer and badly needed. January and February especially. Thanks for caring

    ~ Andy, Twitter – @canayjun

  17. I would like to help out at Christmas time.Whatever you need help with…I have taken 40 hrs of training at Interim Place Shelter, and college courses on Crisis Intervention & Counselling…Please let me know if I an help in any way…Teresa

  18. Good evening,

    I am inquiring about volunteer work in regards to serving Christmas meals to those in need as I am a firm believer in paying it forward!

    It wld be so satisfying to me to give my time, especially during the holiday season and I am looking for any help that may help steer me in the right direction!

    In any event, thank you for your Time

    Kelly Larkin

  19. Thanks Kelly and Teresa for your comments about helping the less fortunate at Christmas. There are many local community organizations that need extra help year round. You can reach Project417 – the organization I worked for helping the homeless for many years – via their website at project417.com. Maybe the best place to connect with them and other volunteer opportunities is on MeetUp: http://www.meetup.com/Help-the-Homeless-with-Project417/ There you can connect with Giulia and Darlene who lead volunteer groups out on the streets delivering meals and warm clothing to the homeless. Another great place to help out in Toronto – and I know they do special Christmas dinners – is the Knox Youth Dinner and Food Bank. At Knox Church, Spadina and Harbord, they have been helping homeless and underhoused disadvantaged youth for many years every Tuesday night all winter long. The volunteers are wonderful people you’d have fun with while you help and the program organizers Vicki and Bill are awesome people. Their website is http://knoxtoronto.org/ministries/outreach.html

    Have a wonderful Christmas season. Many blessings!


    Andy Coats
    author of the Help the Homeless: Volunteer blog
    @canayjun on Twitter

  20. Is there a way I can sign up to help this Christmas season? I would love to give my time any way possible. Please let me know :)

  21. Please visit MeetUp.com and check for the volunteer groups who visit with the homeless and deliver food, simple meals and warm clothing. You can find the volunteer page at http://www.meetup.com/Help-the-Homeless-with-Project417/ The organizers are Giulia and Darlene.



  22. I would love to help out where I can on Christmas Eve.
    Please let me know.

  23. Many places need help at the Christmas season. I would check with a local Salvation Army location or food bank

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