Friendly Calls: Benefits on both sides of the phone  

By: Andréa Parent, social media coordinator

When asked about his experience as a volunteer in the Friendly Calls program, Jason Robillon quickly responds: “It was exactly what I was looking for: having a consistent person to talk with once a week.”

The Canadian Red Cross Friendly Calls program focuses on forming connections and offering more social interaction to adults across the country who could benefit from it by pairing them with volunteers like Jason.  The program helps address feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can be heightened during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic and weather-related emergencies.

A man smiling while talking on a phoneJason has been a Red Cross volunteer for a little over a year now. Every week, he calls Adrian, the person he’s been paired with, to chat about anything and everything. Their discussions usually last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and are mostly light-hearted.

Calling the same person each week allows for deeper and consistent human connections to be formed.

Jason explains that he and Adrian have a lot of hobbies in common, including keeping pet fish, singing, and history – all great topics to talk about during their weekly calls.

A year ago, in the midst of the pandemic, Jason moved from Regina to Winnipeg. He felt a bit lonely and isolated after the relocation, including given pandemic restrictions and other public health orders.

That’s when he thought of joining the Friendly Calls program as a volunteer. This way, he could connect with other people who were in the same situation. It felt like the natural choice – and today, it still does!

As an occupational therapist, Jason says he “works with many patients who are all alone in the community” and sees firsthand how they could benefit from this program.

“It’s super meaningful because there’s a need for it. There’s lots of lonely people out there.”

When asked if he would recommend the program to other people looking for meaningful volunteer opportunities in their community, he responds without hesitation:

“Definitely! I would highlight the program's flexibility and meaningful relationships that can be formed.”

The Canadian Red Cross Friendly Calls program is free and available to any adult living in Canada who feels they could benefit from more social interaction. Visit your provincial or territorial “In Your Community” page to learn more about Friendly Calls in your area.

Interested in becoming a volunteer for this program? Visit and check out our Frequently Asked Questions to find more details.

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