Friendly Calls: connecting people in Saskatchewan

Topics: Saskatchewan, Community Health, Volunteer, Volunteer, English Blog Categories
Jason Small | October 04, 2023

MicrosoftTeams-image.pngFor two Saskatchewan women, being brought together by the Canadian Red Cross has led to weekly phone calls and a friendship that is meaningful to both of them.

“We truly, truly enjoy it,” says Pearl, an 86-year-old retired registered nurse and participant in the Canadian Red Cross Friendly Calls program. She has been paired up with Red Cross volunteer Kimberly, who calls Pearl each week to check-in and just chat.

“I feel that from that first call, we just clicked. It was a really great first call and it just kind of continued from there,” says Kimberly. “The relationship with Pearl has become really something that I look forward to every week.”

Friendly Calls is a nationwide program that matches people over the age of 18 with trained Red Cross personnel who connect with them regularly to check-in, provide emotional support, encourage healthy coping strategies, and suggest well-being resources and community connections to other existing services.

After moving from British Columbia to Saskatchewan a few years ago, Pearl found that she had limited connections to other people, which led to her signing up to receive regular calls from a Red Cross volunteer.

“When you’re lonely and you get depressed, you always need someone to talk to,” Pearl says about signing up with the program. “Right now, I’m having a ball talking to Kim because we seem to be able to talk more than we should some days.”

Kimberly also enjoys their weekly phone calls. “(Pearl) has such a great sense of humour. She cracks me up all the time,” she says. “She is so interesting and her stories are so inspiring.”

This is the first time Kimberly has volunteered with the Canadian Red Cross. She appreciates that the program gives her an opportunity to be a caring ear and to give the participant someone with which they can share their ups and downs.

“Over all of my life, I’ve known and I’ve respected (the Red Cross) and having a chance to be involved and participate, that’s huge for me.”

She also appreciates the support of the Red Cross team from training to promptly helping her with any questions or issues she may have.

Kimberly encourages anyone considering volunteering with the Red Cross Friendly Calls program to just go ahead and do it.

“You give but I think you receive way more back. And just knowing that you’re helping someone who really needs just someone to listen, it’s an absolute win-win situation,” she said. “I think it’s really life-changing, honestly, on both our sides.”

The Friendly Calls program is for anyone 18 or older who may benefit from increased access to regular emotional support, social interaction, enhanced coping skills and community connections to other existing support.

To volunteer or to receive regular calls, anyone can find out more by calling 306-721-1600 (Saskatchewan only) or 1-833-979-9779 (nationwide), Monday to Friday, or by going any time to
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