People often ask me how I got into the life of canvassing door-to-door through the extremes of Canadian weather as my job.

I first applied to work for Public Outreach in Montreal after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. I kept thinking: what on earth would I do in a situation like that? How could I help those affected? I read an ad in the local paper seeking door-to-door fundraisers for MSF/Doctors Without Borders hired through Public Outreach, and took it as a sign since I had just got an Arctic-grade parka and boots, so I figured I could negotiate the city’s steep icy doorsteps for a good cause.

I never imagined at the time that I would spend life working on and off at this for 8 of the next 12 years across the country. But the need is ever growing: when I began, there were approximately 40 million displaced people on earth in need of aid. A decade later now there are 65 million people living life as refugees, forced away from their homes on average over 15 years each. So I don’t believe it is too much to respectfully ask a brief 5-to-15-minute interruption of a Canadian’s busy day-to-day life to acknowledge this and honestly do something effective about it. And it works: half of MSF Canada‘s ~50,000 monthly donors joined through face-to-face fundraising.

This winter I’m canvassing for those working and trying to survive in the aftermath of yet another hurricane in Haiti, ever more bombings in Syria, and to prepare for the inevitable catastrophes to come in 2017.

For someone like myself without medical, engineering or skilled trades experience applicable in the field, I’m grateful to have found this niche in which I’m supported to be of service for those in need of charitable help, as well as those seeking employment with purpose. I’m now door-to-door Fundraising Manager at Public Outreach Vancouver. If you have the time and energy, I encourage you to apply to work with us. If you have the means, please donate.

With gratitude – E.S.