SAULT STE. MARIE -- More stress, increased restrictions, and a higher workload hasn't deterred volunteers from continuing to help out their communities.

Demand for Sault Ste. Marie's Soup Kitchen has doubled since the pandemic began last March, but volunteers at the organization are still going strong.

"There's so many new faces coming in now," said Rollande Powley, a volunteer of 14 years. "We are making close to 200 sandwiches now a day and they're always gone."

Angel Dawson, a volunteer of 15 years, said increased restrictions have made some things more challenging. However, Dawson said she never wanted to stop, despite some overall concerns.

'I love helping'

"I love helping the community," she said. "If one time, I wasn't here, I'd be bored out of my mind and I just live around the corner. I love helping people."

The Sault's United Way branch has its own set of volunteers and helps match potential recruits with other organizations in need.

Officials with the organization said it has noticed an increase in volunteer applications.

"If they have the ability, they just want to do it," said Lori Huston of the United Way. "I mean, a lot of these volunteers have big hearts, they're seniors, they're retired, they're willing to offer their services. It's incredible."

Huston said it's also noticed an increase in demand for its services, particularly Harvest Algoma.

But because much of that work is done in person, she said managing that interest can be challenging.

"I know the need is there, with all the increase and the truckloads that we got last year, even now with this new lockdown," she said. "The need for volunteers is there, but we can't have too many."

For those wanting to help, both organizations are encouraging more donations.