Curbing loneliness through Friendly Calls

By Ellie Podsednik, Communication Specialist, Indigenous Relations
Over the past 22 months, Canadians have come together to support and uplift one another despite remaining physically distanced by following public health recommendations. Although restrictions continue to shift, the long-term, unintended consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are palpable, and many Canadians continue to feel lonely.
A man sitting on a couch smiling holding a phone to his ear with a Canadian Red Cross mug in the other hand.Created before the pandemic, the Friendly Calls program was designed to offer a safe, routine place for those feeling isolated or lonely to seek connections. This free program pairs participants with a Canadian Red Cross volunteer who connect through weekly phone calls.
With so many finding themselves feeling lonely, the Friendly Calls program has seen an uptake in participation since the start of the pandemic, with the program itself expanding in many areas across the country. For some, the calls serve as a weekly check in, but for many participants, meaningful connections have formed.

“These calls have made my life so much better during the pandemic. Hearing their voices and the fact they took the time to call and care means a lot.” - a participant

Throughout the pandemic, Friendly Calls program volunteers have offered more than just an accepting and listening ear. Many volunteers and participants express that these weekly phone calls allow them to take their minds off the stresses of the pandemic.
At the same time, volunteers and participants alike share their life experiences, accomplishments, and milestones while connecting with a trusted contact.

We may feel isolated, but that does not mean we have to feel alone. A Friendly Call can help us connect and bridge the distance.
Eligibility for participation in the Friendly Calls program varies across Canada. Learn more about the program or to sign up to participate in our Friendly Calls program. Those interested in volunteering with Friendly Calls can visit

Related stories: 

See your impact in action.

Sign up to receive impact updates from the Canadian Red Cross, inspirational stories from the field and be the first to hear about emergency relief efforts.

The Canadian Red Cross takes your privacy seriously. We do not distribute or sell your email address to anyone. View our privacy policy.

Blog Archives