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5 ways you can support your community this year

January 18, 2023 by United Way Greater Toronto

A young child holds up containers of plants in a community garden.

Looking for new ways to do good in 2023? We have some ideas!

It’s January, a time to look forward and set goals for what we’d like to accomplish or learn over the next year. Here at United Way, we’re focusing on how to strengthen the GTA in ways big and small — and we want you to join us. From starting a conversation with a neighbour to learning more about our shared history, we’ve come up with five great ways you can connect with, learn from and support your community this year. 

1. Find reasons to talk to your neighbours 

So many options here! Garden, walk, attend a town hall or host a building or block party. It won’t just help you feel better connected to your neighbours, it’ll improve their sense of belonging, too. That’s what it means to build social capital, after all. It’s all about helping people feel like they have a network of support and care — one they can rely on no matter what happens.  

2. Get involved 

Many organizations rely on volunteers and a decline in volunteerism during the pandemic has impacted their ability to reach all the folks that need their support. So, if you’re looking to give your time this year, check out United-Way funded Volunteer Toronto or Volunteer MBC to see where you’re needed. Another way you can get involved is by becoming a United Way member. You’ll vote on appointments and special business, receive financial statements and hear reports on our work.  

3. Keep learning about Indigenous history and share what you learn 

There are many resources out there that will help you further your understanding of Indigenous history. Sign up for free Indigenous Canada courses with friends or colleagues, then meet up to discuss what you learned. Organize an Indigenous Rights Blanket Exercise at your workplace. Or learn more about land acknowledgements and then raise your hand to lead one at your next work event.  

4. Commit to speaking up about the issues you care about 

United Way has been advocating for better public policy around key issues, including affordable housing. But it’s not just organizations like us that can help push the needle — individuals can help too. One simple way you can create real change is by reaching out to your elected officials to let them know how you feel about pressing local issues. Send an email, make a call or sign a petition. It’s a great way to keep representatives accountable year-round.  

5. Buy at least one extra item at the grocer for the food bank, including staples from diverse communities 

We know food banks are not the answer to food insecurity, but while United Way tackles the issue through multiple approaches, the reality is that more and more of our neighbours are relying on food banks for daily needs. So next time you’re picking up groceries, buy some extra items to drop off in the food bank bin or community fridge. Oh, and keep an eye out for foods from different cuisines or for specific diets such as halal, kosher, vegan or gluten free items.

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