Salvationist Podcast

Alice Johansson, Territorial Manager for Volunteer Services

May 26, 2020 Salvationist.ca Season 1 Episode 3
Salvationist Podcast
Alice Johansson, Territorial Manager for Volunteer Services
Chapters
Salvationist Podcast
Alice Johansson, Territorial Manager for Volunteer Services
May 26, 2020 Season 1 Episode 3
Salvationist.ca

Alice Johannson is the Territorial Manager for Volunteer Services and an active volunteer in her corps and local neighbourhood. She is adapting our current volunteer model during this pandemic and is working to build more opportunities to mobilize volunteers across the territory.

Show Notes Transcript

Alice Johannson is the Territorial Manager for Volunteer Services and an active volunteer in her corps and local neighbourhood. She is adapting our current volunteer model during this pandemic and is working to build more opportunities to mobilize volunteers across the territory.

Brandon
Hi, my name is Brandon Laird and you are listening to a Salvationist.ca podcast, stories and news from the Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda territory. Welcome to the Salvationist COVID-19 response podcast, a series where we talk about how the Salvation Army has responded to the COVID-19 crisis. Today I have the privilege of talking with Alice Johansson. Alice is the territorial manager for volunteer services and an active volunteer in her corps and local neighborhood. She's adapting our current volunteer model during this pandemic and is working to build more opportunities to mobilize volunteers across the territory. Welcome to the show.

Alice
Thank you, Brandon.

Brandon
Our listeners are really interested in what's happening across the territory so I have some questions for you to see how things are going. So the first question is, how are the volunteers overcoming the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic?

Alice
Well I think Brandon that in times of crisis Canadians of course want to reach out and help others. It's been really inspiring to see so many people looking to lend a hand however they can and at the same time this isn't like any other crisis that we've ever experienced so it's a learning experience for us all. I think this is a pandemic which represents new challenges when it comes to volunteering such as, you know, maintaining physical distancing and being mindful of your surroundings in a whole different way, but our volunteers have been working hard to overcome those challenges and come up with innovative ways to help people. We all know how hard social isolation can be especially for the elderly and people living alone or people facing physical or mental challenges. But our volunteers have been doing a great job of finding ways to reach out to people in their communities either by checking in over the phone, or through emails, checking in on elderly neighbors, making sure they have enough supplies. And I think if someone is wondering how to make a difference right now they just need to remember that there are many ways to be there for people even while social and physical distancing and keeping safe.

Brandon
Thank you for that. Yeah it's interesting how people are reaching out and helping people who are close to them and in their neighborhoods. I'm curious on some of the numbers of what's happening across the territory here in Canada and Bermuda.

Alice
I think Brandon, we're incredibly grateful for every one of our volunteers who continue to give so generously over time. We're so fortunate when it comes to volunteers in this country and as you know for more than 100 years we have been able to count on volunteers to be the driving force behind our mission and currently in practice today that we have over 130,000 volunteers that work with us as an army behind the Army in over 400 communities across the territory and if we're looking at the amount of applications that we were receiving during the pandemic in comparison to other years I'm happy to say that we have not seen a significant decline in applications coming and in some cases we're even getting contacted by even more individuals interested in volunteering at this point.

Brandon
Great it's good to hear that people are reaching out to this Army to be a part of helping in their neighborhoods. Is there any encouraging stories that you can share about how Salvation Army volunteers are supporting our pandemic response?

Alice
There are so many moments of kindness that have come out of this crisis, but I think one that really moved me recently was a story we covered about one of our food bank volunteers. Her name is Paige sharp and she was actually in her final semester of university when we all went into lockdown. She shared with us that she experienced a lot of anxiety around what was going to happen as far as her education and future goes, so she decided to volunteer at one of our food banks and she expressed so eloquently how helping others and bringing a smile to someone's day has really helped curb her own anxiety and I think she's a great example of what we're always saying at the Salvation Army about how choosing to help others and how it can help you on your own journey as well.

Brandon
It's encouraging to hear how people are helping others in this season and they're getting help at the same time. There's a story of the founder of the Salvation Army at one time during Christmas he sent a telegram around the world with the  one word "others" and that has been a staple in the Salvation Army since that time. Another question I have for you is how can someone who's listening today reach out and volunteer?

Alice
I think first I would say it's really important to take a moment and consider what they might like to do and realistically how much time they can commit to volunteering. Obviously everyone's health and safety is our main priority during this pandemic and so it's important to understand that we all need to take the necessary steps to avoid further spread of the virus. But in terms of applying they can just go to the Salvation Army website and fill out a very short form and someone from the Salvation Army will contact them as soon as opportunities become available in their area and we truly do appreciate everyone's willingness to help in this time of crisis, but it's good for all of us to keep in mind that response times may be a bit slower than normal as we adjust to and rapidly changing service realities.

Brandon
Alice you attend North Toronto Community Church. I'd be curious to know how the volunteers there are helping their neighborhood?

Alice
I think we continue to be active in the community in many ways but as a member of the corps and somebody who normally volunteers teaching Sunday school or just participating in other activities something that's really warmed my heart is that efforts that have been put in place just to continue spreading helping in the community. So, I know that we had some volunteers drop off Easter candy for my kids for example during the pandemic which was greatly appreciated. I had a package left at my door on Mother's Day, again efforts put in by the volunteers in our community that can seem so small that mean so much, and we continue to be active in trying to come up with creative ways in terms of what's required for online worship time or personal devotional time that they all can contribute to and continuing to actually reach out to the young ones in our corps and continue to provide teaching from the Bible during Sundays even if it's online. Those are some of the things that I can think about in addition to helping out with the long term homes that we have in our community.

Brandon
Thank you Alice for taking time out of your day to give an update and share some insights on what's going on. If you would like to help out go to SalvationArmy.ca and click on the how you can help tab. These are unusual times and it's encouraging to hear how the Salvation Army is meeting human needs and being in transformational influence in our neighborhoods. And that's all the time we have for today. Thanks for listening to the Salvationist COVID response podcast. For new episodes and be sure to visit Salvationist.ca/podcast. For more army news visit Salvationist.ca and if you would like to get the news delivered directly to your inbox sign up for a weekly Email newsletter add Salvationist.ca/newsletter.