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Caring for Our Communities During Christmas

Oh, the holidays, the most wonderful time of the year. It holds one of the most exciting breaks for students: winter break. It’s motivating to know that your break will be filled with free time, family and presents. Shopping around this time can be chaotic. You have to think about what gifts to get family members and friends and how to get them to them during the pandemic. It can be exciting and stressful, but in the end, you know you’ll be receiving gifts, and so will those on your “nice” list. While those are some reasons why most of us look forward to the holidays, but others out there cannot experience this time of the year the same way. Many families struggle to put food on the table, let alone gifts under a tree. It’s times like these where we can really come together as one big community to help those in need. You might be thinking about how difficult this is. You’re not wrong, but this isn’t impossible. There are many ways to support others who are not as fortunate to spend Christmas with their loved ones or receive any gifts.

Here are some ways we can support them:


Donate toys:


The annual Toy Mountain Campaign has begun this year, and they need toys now more than ever due to the pandemic. Toy Mountain distributes almost 650 bags of toys each day leading up to Christmas. Each bag contains three toys for children aged 0-12. Toy Mountain has listed many drop-off locations across Ottawa, Ontario, which you can find at this link.

Image is courtesy of CTV News


630 CHED Santas Anonymous is a charity located in Edmonton, Alberta. Many families are working hard this year to make ends meet. If a parent(s) loses their job right before Christmas or their work closes for the month due to COVID, Santas Anonymous will be there to make sure that there are new toys for their children to open on Christmas Day. 630 CHED Santas Anonymous is driven by thousands of donors and volunteers who take the time to buy, collect, wrap, and deliver toys to make sure that every request for a new toy is filled and in the hands of a child come Christmas morning. You can volunteer, donate money, donate toys, or deliver the toys.

You can find the main drop-off locations if you’re looking to donate new toys here. Note that toy donation locations will close on December 23rd, 2020.


Image is courtesy of Santas Anonymous


Surrey Christmas Bureau’s mission statement is, “To ensure that low-income families with children and youth living in the city of Surrey have access to nutritious food, warm clothing, household items and toys during the Christmas holiday season.” The charity collects monetary donations all year round, but they’re looking to donate food hampers and toys to low-income families in their city at Christmas.

The drop-off location is at 13853 – 104 Avenue, Surrey BC (the former Funky Monkey Children’s Play Centre) closes at noon on Christmas Eve. Or you can mail your monetary donation to their P.O Box: “Download our donor application form and mail your completed form along with your cheque to our mailing address (note, this is not our office or toy depot): PO Box 547, 10688 King George Blvd, Surrey, BC V3T 5B7. ”

Go to https://christmasbureau.com/donate/ for more information.

Image is courtesy of Christmas Bureau


Keep your community’s belly full:


If you live in an apartment building or have a recreation centre near you, take a box and leave it near the entrance. You and the other residents can fill this box up with non-perishable items, which you can take to your local community shelter or food bank. Leave a paper up explaining what you’re trying to achieve so others will feel comfortable participating in your act of kindness.

Get your whole community involved:


Boxes don’t need to be filled with only food. You may consider new socks, warm winter clothing, new toys, or all of these things. You will most likely be able to collect many more items than if it was just one individual. No matter the size of the donations, a family or individual will benefit from these donations. Before collecting donations, be sure to look into any guidelines and restrictions the charity or organization you will be donating to might have due to the pandemic.


Volunteer:


With all these ideas for collecting toys, clothes, food, etc., you can imagine the amount of donations charities and organizations have to go through and send out! Find a shelter, food bank or charity that is looking for extra help this holiday season. It’s a bigger help than you think. By volunteering your time, you’re making sure that many children will have a toy(s) by Christmas day, that the less fortunate have full bellies, and that they stay warm this season! For example, Toy Mountain is looking for volunteers to help deliver the millions of toys they get to Canadian families.


Following COVID-19 guidelines


If you are unable to donate or volunteer, another amazing thing you can do is be sure to wear a mask when you go out to shop, maintain a 2 metre (6 ft) distance between you and others, and wash your hands often. By following these guidelines, you’re making sure others don’t get sick and impact their ability to be with their family during Christmas (but this goes for everyday too). Let’s keep each other safe and healthy!


We’re all struggling due to the pandemic. It’s restricting us from our full potential. We need to be there for each other now more than ever. So, whatever you decide to do this holiday season, let’s be respectful, loving, and safe!


Featured image is courtesy of Cottonbro via Pexels


Article Author: Alizeh Qaiser Article Editors: Valerie Shirobokov, Edie Whittington