change lives.

Matchmaking eager volunteers to local non-profits a critical service

To Julie Atkinson, the call to the United Way made all the difference.

The executive director of Sophia Recovery Centre had to move the organization out of two different office locations in Saint John into a new space in Quispamsis by the end of December.

She wasn’t at all sure how she’d pull it off, given that the small non-profit had no money to hire movers.

“There are a lot of reasons why this felt like an impossible task. I remember thinking, ‘How am I going to make this happen?’”

Over the years, the centre established to help women recover from addiction has benefitted from the United Way’s Day of Caring, which matches volunteers to non-profit organizations in need of help.

In Sophia’s case, the Day of Caring has brought volunteers to the centre to assemble and paint furniture one year and to build a shed another time.

Typically, Sophia and other community service agencies benefitting from the service would have to put considerable effort into designing and preparing for an event to harness the energies of companies eager to have employees volunteer for a day.

To make the program easier and more effective, United Way Saint John, Kings & Charlotte is now encouraging non-profit organizations in the region to contact us with the work they need volunteers for at any time throughout the year.

In turn, we match those jobs with volunteers that have contacted us looking to help.

“The intent is that community service agencies will be in the habit of letting me know what they need help with for the year,” says Chelsie Nightingale, our Community Impact Manager.

Since the COVID pandemic hit, local non-profits have been struggling to recruit volunteers. But United Way still gets calls from individuals or companies looking to volunteer.

This modified Day of Caring may also help agencies looking to grow their volunteer base as volunteers introduced to a non-profit through this matchmaking could end up becoming long-term volunteers.

For Sophia Recovery, this matching has meant it now has half a dozen volunteers from United Way’s GenNext group who are eager to help move offices before the end of this month. And they will be showing up with a moving van, so Sophia doesn’t even have to worry about that detail.

“This was a tricky puzzle to put the pieces together on,” Julie says. “But this service from the United Way is a unique way to connect businesses and their volunteers with non-profits.”

The service is open to all non-profits in the region. Anyone looking for more information or to volunteer can contact Chelsie at