Peter & Hillary: Our Place Society


As newcomers to Victoria, Peter and Hilary were shocked by the visible homelessness. Motivated to contribute meaningfully, they began their journey by sponsoring meals. However, the couple soon realized that caring wasn’t just about providing financial support; it was about investing time and building connections.

“Writing the cheque is relatively easy,” says Peter. “And we’d heard it said that, ‘what was really valuable was time more than money.’ So, we thought, ‘Well, we’d better do some of that as well.’”

Guided by a desire to make a tangible impact, Peter and Hilary found their niche in the Saturday morning breakfast shifts at Our Place Society, an organization serving people who are unhoused. The couple, now into their second year of volunteering, modestly downplays the notion of celebrating their volunteering anniversaries, preferring to emphasize their ongoing commitment to the cause.

When asked about their specific choice of Our Place Society, Peter and Hilary reveal that it was driven by the stark reality they witnessed on Pandora Street. Their decision was guided by a sense of serendipity and a desire to address the needs of those most visibly affected by homelessness. “We were looking to do something and didn’t know where. And in a sense, it was serendipity that had us choose Our Place.”

A key aspect of their volunteering journey has been their shift in perspectives. Peter openly admits to having preconceived notions about homelessness and acknowledges a profound change in understanding since they began volunteering. The couple encourages others to witness the reality firsthand.

“If there’s a message, I guess, we would want folks to understand the multifaceted contributors to homelessness, including issues of mental health, addiction and unforeseen economic hardships,” he adds.

Through their humble yet impactful efforts, Peter and Hilary remind us that change begins with acknowledging the humanity in every individual, regardless of their circumstances.

Peter and Hilary’s commitment to community service extends beyond Our Place Society. They share their extensive history of volunteering, emphasizing the importance of giving back and staying engaged in the community. Their experiences with family services, senior centres and thrift shops showcase a lifelong dedication to making a positive impact.

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