Trees 4 Tots Volunteers: Soaked, But All Smiles!

January 21, 2020


I would like you to take a moment to study the photo above.

Did you notice that about 85% of the volunteers in this room are men? Every study ever conducted on volunteerism shows a noticeable gender inequality. According to a survey, on average, women are nearly 30% more likely to volunteer than men.

When men decide to volunteer, it is usually because they see an opportunity to use their specific skillset to help, and once they are committed to the cause or event, it will take a natural disaster to stop them. That is what we see with our Trees for Tots volunteers, men and women alike.

Many of the people in this photo volunteer on a regular basis; men and women giving time regularly to many organizations. What is different about Trees for Tots is it also captures another demographic, a different group of volunteers who have very little time to give for many reasons. They might be the owner of a business or the sole bread winner for their family; they might not travel in a circle of contacts that are connected to the volunteer community.

This unique event however has captured them, their hearts and their souls. This year’s Trees for Tots event had a record number of volunteer’s register. We had an amazing 113 trucks signed up and every truck contained at least 1 helper, if not 2, making our truck volunteer count at almost 250! Along with the drivers, there was another 50 volunteers running chipping stations across the city, and over 20 volunteers registered to help at College Heights to get all these trucks going.

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Doing the math, that brings out event count to over 300 volunteers for the day! Along with the day of volunteers, there is also an Outreach Committee that meets for months in advance of the event. This committee works hard to promote this initiative, and ensure that the community is aware of the impact it has. We also have volunteers in the office before, during and after the event, all who give countless hours answering phones and emails to get all the trees registered.

We can’t stop there however because every event partner plays a role in this event. From those who donate machinery, to the tow trucks who move the machines,  the business owners who print our promotional materials, the City of Guelph who does our mapping, and even the tree retailers who tag their trees and talk to their customers about the event. If we include all of these people in our count, we would easily be looking at over 400 people who have given their time in some way to support this event.

Why do all these people give their time? Because there are still children in this community who are in need of our help. They are Fathers and Mothers, business owners, grandparents, teenagers, retirees, skilled trades people, computer analysts, artists and they have one thing in common…they won’t stop until they have done all they can do for the kids in their community.

Many of the volunteers involved in this event are busy people, with full time jobs and families of their own. Their time is valuable to them and they don’t have a lot to give. They take this opportunity and make it their own.

When we started putting together our communications for volunteers for this year’s event, we had already received calls and emails from over 80 truck drivers saying they would like to help again this year. This event belongs to you, the community and let me just say I am inspired by the generosity and love I see poured out by all of you on this cold wet morning in January. 

Many of you go home unrecognized, cold and tired, well let me say on behalf of all the kids who benefit from your hard work…I salute you!