‘Tis the season for giving, and there’s no better way to help spread the spirit of Christmas to someone else in Ottawa than by finding a way to give back to a community organization.
Whether it’s making a cash donation, getting involved in a food drive, donating items, or providing a holiday hamper, there are many ways to share your generosity.
Here are a few of the many organizations looking for assistance during the holiday season. If you aren’t sure where to start or want to ensure your contribution is given directly in your own neighbourhood, contact your local food bank, community centre or church for additional ways to help.
Every year, Toy Mountain sets a goal to provide toys to over 20,000 kids in the Ottawa area who are in need of toys. They are looking for new and unwrapped toys for children aged 0 – 12. Drop off your donations to a Toy Mountain location across the city (you can find a list of drop off spots on the website, which include local businesses and banks). There’s also a handy list of items they are most looking for on the website. Toy Mountain is collecting toys and donations until December 23.
Does your family celebrate the holidays with a new pair of pyjamas for everyone? Do you all look forward to having a new pair at this time of year? Pyjama Patrol is working to ensure more kids have a new pair of cozy pjs this holiday season. They want every child to go to bed with a warm pair of pjs every night of the year, but currently, there are pyjama collection locations and drives across Ottawa. Collect new pjs for kids of all ages and drop them off at one of their participating partners by December 15th or contact Pyjama Patrol to arrange to donate.
The Caring and Sharing Exchange is looking for sponsors for their holiday hamper program. They will pair you with a family in need of assistance, and you purchase the items requested for their holiday meal. After you establish any dietary concerns and arrange a drop off time and location with the family, you can shop, pack up the hampers and deliver them. While it may be tempting to include the kids in this process of giving, it’s requested that they not attend the drop-off. The guidelines and reasoning can be found on the Caring and Sharing Exchange website, but for reasons of dignity (and to provide some anonymity), it’s one of the requests. Your hamper will help a family put food on the table this Christmas.
The Ottawa Food Bank continues to collect non-perishable food items, diapers, toiletries and yes, fresh food items, to help feed Ottawa residents in need. They do accept families for volunteer duties, so if you are looking to donate your time, rather than items, it might be a good way to get involved. If you prefer, you can collect food items for donation and drop them off for distribution. The Ottawa Food Bank website has a list of most requested items which is always a great place to start.