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We welcome anyone willing to sign on, learn the ropes under the guidance of a Shift Manager or experienced volunteer and become part of a working team. The attitude required is one of respect for all, concern to help each guest maintain dignity, while understanding the need for orderly behaviour and observance of protocols and guidelines.

Many tasks, with varying degrees of guest contact, are needed to deliver the program on a weekly basis and all are crucial to our success. We could not maintain the program without the energy and effort of all our volunteers. Youth over the age of 14 are welcome to attend on their own. Youth between the ages of 12 and 14 must be accompanied by a parent or a participating sibling or friend over the age of 16. Children under the age of 12 will be considered on an individual basis.

Volunteers choose a shift that best fits with their interest, comfort level, availability and program need. In the event that a shift is over-subscribed, volunteers may be asked to staff a different shift or to attend with less frequency. Volunteers who would like to bring a friend along are asked to contact a Program Coordinator first.

A newsletter containing important information is sent to each volunteer every week. Please be sure to read it.


Please help us organize our volunteer resources effectively by completing this online form. Thanks!

Providing your latest email address will also help us update our email list for the newsletters.

Link to online form:

“GET CONNECTED” New Volunteer Opportunity

Click here for more information

Volunteer Orientation Guide

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Volunteer experience

Being part of the Out of the Cold community has been extremely gratifying for many of us over the years. The opportunity to bridge the gap of isolation and to connect simply as one person to another with people we might ignore if we saw them on the street can be an enriching and humanizing experience for all involved in those interactions. To contribute just a bit of time and effort to the program which provides some small comfort and care, is a gift. We hope you’ll join us.

Volunteers have said the following about what they’ve enjoyed at Out of the Cold:


“I’ve made good friends with volunteers”


“It’s a wonderful interfaith experience”


“It’s a very grounded experience. It’s important to get off the 20th floor of an office building and make connections with people I see sitting on the sidewalk.”


“Giving back to the community, sharing, a sense of duty”


“Helping people who’ve slipped through every crack, at a really bad time of year”


“I’ve enjoyed getting to know the guests, the way people find a way to manage in their difficult lives, the pride and self-acceptance the guests seem to have with themselves.”


“It’s interesting when I meet guests on the street. One guest who always told me bad jokes when he came to OOTC, jumped up from his milk crate on Spadina when I saw him there and told me a bad joke.”


“Showing respect and sharing a smile each cold Thursday night.”


Important information

Much as we would love to feed our volunteers as well as our guests, our budget is very limited and unfortunately, there is not enough food to go around. We ask that volunteers please eat at home before or after attending the program.

Volunteers are responsible for ensuring the safety of their own personal property while in the program. Valuables should be left at home or kept on their person. An unattended cloak room is available for storing coats.

Appropriate, non-revealing attire is required.

While warm and positive connections can develop between volunteers and guests and despite the fact that their needs are great, it’s strongly recommended that volunteers do not share personal contact information with guests, lend them money, invite them to their home or arrange to meet outside of the program. Any questions or concerns about contact with the guests can be discussed with the Volunteer Coordinators.

St. Matthew’s Church is easily reached by public transit. The St. Clair West subway station is a 15 minute walk to the east of the church. The 512 St. Clair streetcar passes in front of the building and the 126 Christie bus stops one block to the east of the church.

There is limited parking in the small lot on the east side of the church. Everyone must refrain from parking in the Minister’s spot! There is metered street parking on St. Clair until 9:00 p.m. and the parking officers are vigilant, so be sure to pay for parking. There is free street parking on nearby side streets and be sure to take note of the posted signs. On many of these streets, parking is restricted to one side of the street which can switch at mid-month. Also late-night parking on residential streets is from midnight to 7:00 or 8:00 a.m., is by permit only and is strictly enforced!

The program is in constant need of clean, good quality men’s and women’s casual clothing. Pants, t-shirts, sweatshirts, winter coats and boots are particularly required. Also needed are travel-size toiletries, toothpaste and toothbrushes. We’re in desperate need of used kitchenware, so think of de-cluttering cupboards and drawers and bring in: soup bowls, mugs, cutlery, kitchen knives and scissors, knife sharpener, can openers, ice cream scoops, cutting boards, tea towels and oven mitts.

Important Dates

Orientation for New Volunteers
Thursday October 19, 2017

7:30 pm. St. Matthew's United Church (no pre-registration required)

Thursday November 2, 2017
Program starts

Thursday December 21, 2017
Christmas at Out of the Cold

Thursday March 29, 2018
Program ends for season

Donors & Supporters

Click the link below to see the many organizations, businesses and individuals that have graciously provided their support!

Please contact us if you'd like to donate and support the program. Every contribution, big or small, has a significant impact on the service we can offer our guests.

List of Donors & Supporters >>

An Invitation To Donate >>

Here is a short documentary on the importance of clean dry socks for the homeless. A donation of socks goes a long way to providing much needed warmth and comfort to our guests.

Socks for the Homeless >>

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