With only 13 days to go until Christmas, most of us are busy trying to wrap up our holiday shopping, decorating Christmas trees, prepping for holiday parties, and packing for trips home. I absolutely love this time of year, but for those less fortunate it can be a very difficult time. It’s so important for us to slow down, take a step back from the festivities, give thanks, and share the love with those in need.
While I believe in giving back all year round, the need for volunteers and donations becomes especially pressing during the holiday season. This year, my friends and I collected urgent need items for a local youth shelter to be delivered before Christmas Day.
If you’re looking to spread a bit of love, hope, and joy, here are 5 ways you can give back in your community…
Spend some quality time with seniors
Not everyone has a family to go home to for the holidays. For those living in nursing homes, the Christmas season can be a very lonely time. Home Instead Senior Care partners with local non-profit and community organizations in cities across North America to locate seniors who might not otherwise receive gifts at Christmas.
The Be a Santa to a Senior program depends on volunteers to collect, wrap, and deliver gifts to seniors. Visit their website, enter your postal code, and find the nearest Be a Santa to a Senior store in your area.
Donate urgent need items to a shelter of your choice
Shelters for youth, the homeless, and women fleeing abusive relationships depend on the kindness of the public for everything from warm winter clothing to baby formula to personal hygiene products.
If you live in the Toronto area, Covenant House, Horizons for Youth, Red Door Family Shelter, Sistering, and Scott Mission are all accepting gifts in kind for the holiday season. Visit individual websites for holiday wish lists and urgent need items.
Volunteer your time and help out with food sorting
Food banks really feel the crunch during the holidays. Get your friends or co-workers on board and spend a couple of hours sorting food at your local food bank.
If you live in Toronto, Daily Bread Food Bank needs volunteers for its Holiday Drive Public Food Sorts taking place on December 24, December 28, and December 29. Online registration will start at 10am on December 15.
Spread a bit of love and warmth to the homeless
It’s been a beautiful December so far with unseasonably warm temps, but winter is on its way. And wintertime in Toronto can be pretty brutal, especially for those living on the streets.
Gather your friends, pool your resources together, buy hats, gloves, socks, hygiene products, and coffee shop gift cards and put together blessing bags. Hit the streets as a group on Christmas Eve and hand them out to the homeless.
Donate unwrapped toys to a toy drive
For the month of December, most malls have toy donation boxes set up. When you’re out gift shopping for your loved ones, keep an eye out for donation boxes, purchase a toy, and make a child in need feel special on Christmas morning.
If you wish, you can also drop off toys at participating locations for CTV’s annual Toy Mountain campaign.
How are you giving back this holiday season?