Christmas: Time To Give Back

Christmas: Time To Give Back

Christmas: Time To Give Back

Christmas Charity: Together We Can Make a Difference

Christmas is a family time, full of warm feelings, magic spirit, family, tradition, gifts. But it’s also a giving back time.
I remember when we just came to Canada and felt very lonely and uncomfortable, almost depressed – some strangers knocked to our door. It was a family with kids and they brought amazing Christmas gifts for our children, presents for us, cookies, food.
They said: “Merry Christmas!” and disappeared.
I could not believe that! I do not know who those people were but I think their visit changed my life. I believed that everything will be OK, that we are not alone. And also I understood that any help and support is very important. Help just cannot be small! And since that time I feel that I want to pay it forward.

Usually we visit some shelters in Toronto and bring toys, clothes, food for those less fortunate. And it’s such happiness to see how sad little children’s faces are turning to smile.

I believe together we can make a difference. There are so many opportunities to help people in needs.
I tried to find some helpful information on how you can give back.

If you live in West Location of GTA (Mississauga, Oakville, Etobicoke etc.) – you can become one of the holiday helpers. Holiday Helpers provides a Christmas package to low income families. Many families are single-parent households, some are new to Canada and all are involved with subsidized agencies for daycare or other family aid. The parents (or sometimes guardian, grandparent, aunt, sister, brother) are all motivated to make a positive difference in their children’s lives. They sometimes work multiple jobs to make ends meet, attend school or even perform volunteer work of their own.

Holiday Helpers

This year I am going to work as a volunteer in Holiday Helpers so I promise to write an article about it. You can find more information about holiday helpers here:

The Mayor’s Annual Toy Drive is now underway. You can drop off new, unwrapped toys, gifts and gift cards to any of the following toy drive collection locations, during operating hours, until Tuesday, December 24:

• City Hall, 100 Queen St. W.
• Metro Hall, 55 John St.
• Etobicoke Civic Centre, 399 The West Mall
• North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St.
• East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell Ave.
• Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Dr.
• York Civic Centre, 2700 Eglinton Ave. W.

Read more details here:

I also found very good article “3 ways to give back for the holidays in the GTA“. Check it out!

City of Toronto published some  suggestions from the community agencies that serve them. Organizations have been listed geographically based on their locations, however most serve people in need from across Toronto. Requested items, volunteer opportunities and events planned by the agencies are listed below. Please contact the agency before dropping off your donation. More information about the agencies can be found by visiting their web sites.


Anduhyaun Inc. – Nekenaan Second Stage Housing
1296 Weston Road
Tracy Sauvé, 416-243-7669 x226,
Clients: Native women and children
Items needed: Turkeys, food vouchers, toys and movie and entertainment passes

Horizons for Youth
422 Gilbert Avenue
Gilad Cohen, 416-781-9898 x27,
Clients: Homeless and at-risk youth 16-24
Items needed: Winter clothing for males and females such as coats, hats, scarves, mittens and boots; toys for children; towels and linens

John Howard Society of Toronto
1669 Eglinton Avenue West
Donna Read, 416-925-4387,
Clients: Homeless men in conflict with the law
Items needed: Hygiene products such as deodorant, razors and shampoo; TTC tokens; agenda booklets or appointment books

LAMP Community Health Centre – Adult Drop-in Program
185 Fifth Street
Hayley Darychuk, 416-252-6471 x247,
Clients: Homeless and under-housed adults
Items needed: Hygiene products such as soap, toothpaste and shampoo; winter clothing, socks and underwear (especially men’s); pet supplies such as dog and cat food, winter coats and other care supplies

Syme Woolner Neighbourhood & Family Centre – Jane’s Drop-in Program
2468 Eglinton Avenue West, Unit 3
De’Janna Mignott, 416-766-4634,
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Adults experiencing either homelessness, addiction and/or mental health issues and social isolation
Event: Annual Christmas Dinner – December 25, 2013. Volunteers wanted to assist with serving dinner and/or with the festivities of the day.
Items needed: Monetary donations to help with food and supply purchases; gifts for adults such as gift cards and food vouchers

Unison Health and Community Services
1651 Keele Street
Christine Araujo-Pavao, 416-653-5400 x1291,
Clients: Streets to Homes clients
Event: Community Kitchen Holiday Party – December 19, 2013
Items needed: Gifts, clothing and food

North York

North York Harvest Food Bank
640 Lawrence Avenue West
Sahar Ghafouri, 416-635-7771,
Items needed: Financial donations; non-perishable food items such as grains, canned fish or meat, canned or dried beans, cooking oil, canned fruit, canned vegetables, fruit juice, cereals, nut butters, baby formula, infant cereals, baby food, canned or powdered milk, spices and seasonings and diapers


Homes First Society – Scarborough Shelter
3576 St. Clair Avenue East
Beverly Wright, 416-395-0994,
Clients: Homeless men and women
Items needed: Pillows, towels, big microwaves, kettles and toasters

Houses Opening Today Toronto Inc.
75 Blantyre Avenue
Alan Cristales or Bernadette La Porte, 416-369-0366 x22 or x25, or
Clients: Low income children, teens, adults, seniors, families and singles dealing with issues around poverty, homelessness, addictions and mental health
Event: Community Holiday Party – December 14, 2013
Items needed: Door prize items such as gift baskets and gift cards; winter gloves, scarves and toques; gift cards to coffee shops and grocery stores

Second Base Youth Shelter
702 Kennedy Road
Sharon Allen-Elliot, 416-261-2733,
Clients: Homeless youth 16-21
Events: Christmas Dinner – December 22, 2013; Ex-Resident Get Together – December 17, 2013
Items needed: Blankets, pillows and twin bed sheets; winter underclothing, toiletries and gift cards

Warden Woods Community Centre – Teesdale Hot Lunch Program
40 Teesdale Place
Rosamma George, 416-694-1138 x142,
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Homeless people and those at risk of being homeless
Event: Christmas Lunch – December 18, 2013
Items needed: Warm clothing such as socks, mittens, gloves, coats, pants and shirts; toiletries

Toronto/East York

416 Community Support for Women
416 Dundas Street East
Lesley Clark, 416-928-3334 x221,
Clients: Women with mental health and addictions issues
Event: Client Christmas Meal – December 25, 2013
Items needed: Movie theatre tickets/passes; new winter hats and scarves; gift cards from Tim Hortons, Loblaws, Sobeys, etc.

Anduhyaun Inc. – Anduhyaun Shelter
106 Spadina Road
Paula Putman, 416-920-1492 x222,
Clients: Aboriginal women and children fleeing abuse
Items needed: New Christmas tree, ornaments and decorations; $500 for a catered Christmas party; items for teens such as gift cards for Tim Hortons, Chapters, Indigo and iTunes

Anishnawbe Health Toronto
225 Queen Street East
Murray Nielsen, 416-920-2605,
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Aboriginal individuals
Events: United Way Fundraising –  throughout November 2013; Christmas Hamper Program – December 2013
Items needed: Christmas gifts for children and financial contributions

Central Neighbourhood House – Street Survivors Program
349 Ontario Street
Philip Unrau, 416-925-4363 x211,
Clients: Newly/marginally housed individuals with chronic homelessness, addiction and mental health issues from the street
Items needed: 400 grocery gift cards (President’s Choice); 40 sets of thermal underwear and seasonal shoes; eight single beds (box springs and mattresses); 24 rolls of TTC tokens

Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre
854 Bloor Street West
Deborah Jules, 416-584-8941,
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Homeless, marginalized and low income individuals and newcomers
Events: Gathering for participants – December 23, 2013; Holiday meal – December 25, 2013
Items needed: Clothing such as gloves, hats and scarves; food, toiletries, vouchers and hampers

CRC Self Help
90 Richmond Street East, Suite 201
Fabiana Spehar, 416-591-6389 x226,
Clients: Rent-geared-to-income singles
Items needed: Writing desk, bed sheets, alarm clocks, blankets, curtains, curtain rods and rails, hangers, mirrors, step stools, picture frames, vases and bowls

Davenport Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre
1900 Davenport Road
Eileen Hannan 416-656-8025 x370
Clients: Adults
Items needed: TTC tokens, food vouchers, hygiene supplies and gift certificates

Elizabeth Fry Toronto – Homeless and Outreach Programs
215 Wellesley Street East
Karen Brown, 416-924-3708 x246,
Clients: Marginalized women
Items needed: Gift cards for groceries and clothing; winter attire such as hats, gloves, scarves and socks; feminine products such as pads, tampons, lotions, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste

Fred Victor
59 Adelaide Street East, 6th Floor
Carol Watson, 416-364-8228 x380,
Clients: Homeless and low income individuals
Items needed: Winter clothing such as outer coats, boots, sweatshirts, hats, mittens, scarves, pajamas, socks and underwear; household items such as ceramic mugs, plates, cutlery, towels, blankets, pet food and toys and cookware; playing cards and games, gift cards and movies; personal hygiene supplies such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste and women’s cosmetics

Fred Victor – Open House Drop-in and Support Services
59 Adelaide Street East, 6th Floor
Enza Trentadue, 416-833-9197,
Clients: Homeless and under-housed adults
Items needed: Warm gently used casual coats, gently used winter boots and men’s casual clothes such as jeans, sweatshirts and t-shirts

Good Neighbours’ Club
170 Jarvis Street
Lauro Monteiro, 416-366-5377 x225,
Sheila Yeung, 647-221-1139,
Clients: Homeless men 55+
Items needed: Winter socks, underwear, mittens and casual clothing such as hoodies, jeans and shoes

Good Shepherd Refuse Social Ministries
412 Queen Street East
Br. Tom Liss, 416-869-3619 x284,
Clients: Primarily homeless and disadvantaged men 18+
Items needed: New men’s socks and underwear; disposable razors, shaving cream, small (pocket) combs and men’s deodorant

Harbourfront Community Centre
627 Queens Quay West
Karen Warner or Kelly McClure, 416-392-1509 x315 or x303, or
Clients: AOCC
Events: Family Fun Fest – November 30, 2013 in support of family programs. Admission is $2, free for kids under two; Holiday Gift Drive – items gratefully accepted until December 9, 2013
Items needed: New unwrapped gifts for 100 children/youth and 20 isolated seniors; hats, mittens and scarves for all ages; grocery cards and personal hygiene items for marginalized families, seniors and the homeless. Monetary donations of $20 or more will be eligible for a charitable donation tax receipt.

Homes First Society – Volunteer Program
90 Shuter Street, 2nd Floor
Candice Lewis, 416-395-0907,
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Individuals with homelessness, addictions and mental health challenges
Event: Winter Solstice Community Event – December 21, 2013. Looking for volunteers to help with decorating and preparing/serving hot food and beverages at 87 Bellevue Avenue.
Items needed: Cash donations for Christmas food and small gifts; new or gently used women’s and men’s winter coats; new adult clothing including socks, winter boots and gloves

Interval House – Residential Program
131 Bloor Street West, Suite 200
Paula Del Cid, 416-924-1411 x252,
Clients: Women and children fleeing domestic violence
Items needed: Toys and books for Christmas gifts for children age newborn to 18 years; new pajama sets, socks, winter hats, scarves and mittens; toiletries such as shampoo, soap, deodorant and hand was

LOFT Community Support Services
15 Toronto Street, 9th Floor
Jane Corbett, 416-979-1994 x227,
Clients: At-risk youth, adults and seniors with mental health/addiction issues and history of homelessness
Event: LOFT Holiday Concert, St. James Cathedral – December 2, 2013
Items needed: New toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and soap; small treats such as chocolate bars and packaged cookies; small clothing items such as socks, underwear, mittens and scarves

LOFT Community Support Services – Transitional Age Youth Program
15 Toronto Street, 9th Floor
Julia Vanderheul, 416-461-5629 x30,
Clients: Youth 16-25
Event: LOFT Holiday Concert, St. James Cathedral – December 2, 2013
Items needed: Gifts for youth, TTC tokens, food supplies

Margaret’s Housing and Community Support Services
*Donations will be given to the Toronto Friendship Centre Drop-in Program
301 Broadview Avenue
Anna Stranges, 416-463-1481 x103,
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Vulnerable individuals
Events: Christmas Day – December 25, 2013; New Year’s Day – January 1, 2014
Items needed: Personal hygiene products such as shampoo, soap, razors, toothpaste and toothbrushes; sleeping bags, winter coats, boots, thermal under clothing, socks and underwear

Metropolitan United Community Services
56 Queen Street East
Anneli Kelly or Claire Graham, 416-363-0331 x41 or x43,
Clients: Homeless and low income individuals
Event: Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon – December 13, 2013
Items needed: Mittens, scarves, jackets, socks and toques; toiletries, feminine products and combs; backpacks, t-shirts, track pants and underwear

Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto
191 Gerrard Street East
Crystal Basi, 416-963-9963 x221,
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Aboriginal women and children
Event: Winter Solstice 2013 – December 20, 2013; Daily Community Lunch – Mondays to Fridays
Items needed: Food vouchers, mail certificates and entertainment passes for movies, ROM, AGO, etc.

Nazareth House
455 Palmerston Boulevard
Beverley McAleese, 416-534-3429,
Clients: At-risk women and infants
Items needed: Food gift cards, TTC tokens and baby furniture such as cribs, strollers, high chairs and car seats

Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre – Drop-in Centre
1499 Queen Street West
Tracey Cocks, 416-537-2262 x230,
Clients: Adults with mental health and poverty challenges
Events: Holiday card making – December 10, 2013; Christmas tree shopping – December 13, 2013; Tree decorating – December 17, 2013; Solstice Celebration and Turkey Dinner – December 20, 2013; Veehavta-provided Holiday Dinner – December 22, 2013; Gift giving – December 23 or 24, 2013
Items needed: Gift cards, socks, cell phones, iPads and toiletries

Portland Place Non-Profit Housing Corporation
163 Portland Street
Linda Moore or Eric carrier, 416-703-0652,
Clients: Vulnerable adults and children living in supported housing
Items needed: Fitted single bed sheets, single comforters and new pillows; shower curtains; TTC tokens and senior tickets

Salvation Army – Evangeline Residence
2808 Dundas Street West
Major Karen Oldford or Natasha Frechette, 416-762-9636 x226 or x227, or
Clients: Single women
Items needed: Coats, boots, towels and blankets

Salvation Army – Hope Shelter
167 College Street
Major Carson Durdle, 416-979-7058,
Clients: Homeless men
Items needed: Monetary donations; toiletries such as razor blades, deodorant, tooth brushes and toothpaste, body wash, Q-Tips and shampoo and conditioner; duffel bags and back packs; casual  men’s clothing such as gloves, socks, long and short underwear and boots

Salvation Army Toronto Harbour Light Ministries/Homestead Addiction Services
160 Jarvis Street
Anne Campbell-Smith, 416-682-2494,
Clients: Homeless men and women
Events: Meals for the homeless – December 15 & 22, 2013
Items needed: Food, winter clothing and footwear

Sanctuary Street Outreach
25 Charles Street East
Nada Thomson, 416-922-0628 x225,
Clients: Homeless men and women
Event: Christmas Rhythm and Blues Concert – November 29, 2013
Items needed: Winter coats, boots, gloves, sleeping bags and/or blankets, long underwear and thermal socks

Scott Mission
502 Spadina Avenue
Cristina Bonadonna or Martin Davis, 416-923-8872 x233 or x290, or
Clients: Homeless and marginalized men and women
Events: Christmas meal – December 25, 2013; special meals for homeless men – December 25-26, 2013 and January 1, 2014
Items needed: Winter jackets, boots, gloves and toques; long johns, briefs and boxer briefs, socks; toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, 2 oz hand soap for showers, laundry detergent and razors; TTC tokens

Sistering – Drop-in and Outreach
962 Bloor Street West
Carol Allain, 416-926-9762 x239,
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Homeless women
Items needed: Toiletries, incontinence wear and grocery gift cards in small denominations

Sisters of St. Joseph Fontbonne Ministries – Mustard Seed
791 Queen Street East
Anne LeFresne, 416-465-6069,
Clients: Adult men and women living in poverty, seniors, the homeless and individuals with physical and/or mental health disabilities
Items needed: Men’s and women’s hats, gloves and socks; food gift certificates

Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Elisa House Shelter
240 Church Street
Judith Kerr or Cindy-Ann Marchan, 416-259-2528, and
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Single women
Event: Christmas dinner for current and ex-residents – December 19, 2013
Items needed: Food for a lunch program and turkey dinner; new women’s clothing such as underwear and pajamas; toiletries and gift baskets for Christmas gifts

Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Mary’s Home Emergency Shelter
240 Church Street
Bella G., 416-595-6429,
Clients: Women experiencing mental health, social, biological or emotional barriers to finding housing
Events: All Residents Holiday Party – December 13, 2013; In-House Holiday Party – December 25, 2013
Items needed: Hygiene products such as deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, cosmetics, luxury items; new boots/shoes (all sizes), women’s clothing (M/L) and large bras; holiday decorations

Sojourn House
101 Ontario Street
Dan Rutembesa, 416-864-9136 x240,
Clients: Refugees
Items needed: Toys or winter clothing for children age toddler to 12 years; gifts for teens 12-15 and gift cards for youth 16-24; winter coats for men and women

St. Felix Centre
25 Augusta Avenue
Iris Bartraw, 416-203-1624,
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Homeless and marginalized individuals
Event: Holiday meal lunch and dinner – December 19, 2013; Centre will be open for meals only from 9 am-1 pm from December 23, 2013 to January 3, 2014. Regular programs resume on January 6.
Items needed: Men’s winter coats size M-XL, men’s winter boots size 8-13, men’s hoodies size M-XL, men’s jeans size 32-40, men’s underwear; women’s winter coats size M-XL, women’s boots size 7-12, women’s hoodies size M-XL; sleeping bags and socks; board games, video games and a 32-inch flat screen television; food such as coffee, tea, sugar, canned soup, pasta sauce and pasta

St. James Cathedral – Drop-in
65 Church Street
Tracey Ferguson, 416-364-7865 x222,
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Women and men ranging from 24-70s, housed and homeless patrons
Event: Full Christmas meal plus live piano – December 31, 2013
Items needed: Gift bags and gifts to distribute; frozen or canned vegetables to serve with the meal or desserts; small token gifts such as men’s and women’s gloves, hats and scarves or treats such as chocolate Santas

St. Stephen’s Community House – Corner Drop-in
260 Augusta Avenue
Theo Prociw, 416-964-8747 x260,
Clients: Homeless and marginalized adults in the downtown west end
Items needed: Socks, winter clothing and boots (mostly men’s needed); cooking equipment such as large pots and aprons; towels

Street Haven
87 Pembroke Street
Amy Leung, 416-967-6060 x225,
Clients: Single women
Items needed: Pajamas, underwear and socks; winter jackets and shoes

Street Haven – Women’s Shelter
87 Pembroke Street
Katherine White, 416-967-6060 x235,
Clients: Women 16+
Items needed: Pyjamas, robes, toiletries, underwear, socks, bedding and towels

Toronto Christian Resource Centre
40 Oak Street
Michelle Brown, 416-363-4234 x224,
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Adult men and women/families
Events: Drop-in Christmas Lunch – December 13, 2013; Drop-in Breakfast/Lunch (servers and helpers needed) – December 30, 2013
Items needed: Gift cards for grocery stores, clothing stores and restaurants; toys for boys and girls ages 2-10; movies (DVD and VHS); TTC tokens; healthy goodie bags; winter clothing for men and women such as coats, boots, hats, snowpants, socks, long johns, gloves, sweaters, jeans and sweatpants

Toronto Community Hostel
344 Bloor Street West, Suite 402
Donna Johnson, 416-963-0043,
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Families with children, couples, single men and women
Event: 2013 Clients Christmas Party – December 21, 2013
Items needed: Grocery and Wal-Mart gift cards; men’s and women’s hat, scarf and glove sets; men’s socks

Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre – Drop-in
439 Dundas Street East
Darlene McGregor, 416-360-4350 x240,
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Adults
Events: Christmas dinner – TBD; New Year’s dinner – TBD
Items needed: Winter apparel, clothing and hygiene products

Woodgreen Red Door Family Shelter
21 Carlaw Avenue
Natasha Ricketts, 416-915-5671 x234,
Clients: Homeless families and abused women
Items needed: New winter clothing for all ages in all sizes; non-perishable food; toys and gifts for adults and children of all ages

Women’s Residence
674 Dundas Street West
Mary Sehovic, 416-392-5506,
Clients: Single women
Event: Season Party – December 18, 2013
Items needed: Socks, underwear and pajamas

Wychwood Open Door – Drop-in Centre
729 St. Clair Avenue West
David Nath, 647-352-3513,
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Socially isolated people
Events: Christmas meals – December 23, 2013; Christmas Gift Wraps – December 23, 2013
Items needed: Winter jackets, hats, scarves and gloves

Yonge Street Mission
306 Gerrard Street East
Danielle Hornung or Laura Awesange, 416-929-9614 x4284 or x3264, or
Volunteers wanted.
Clients: Homeless and hard to house families, seniors, socially isolated adults, youth and children
Events: Various events held throughout December 2 to December 24, 2013. Visit for events and volunteer opportunities. Volunteers also needed to provide home baked goods for these events. Goodies must be dropped off between 9 am-5 pm between December 2 and December 23. See the web site for more information or to sign up.
Items needed: Items for senior holiday hampers such as large print books, pajamas, slippers, socks and mugs (required by December 11); gift cards, especially for youth 14-18; grocery and Wal-Mart gift cards

Youth Employment Services (YES)
555 Richmond Street West, Suite 711, Box 115
Rosita Esgard, 416-504-5516 x253,
Clients: Youth 15-30 with a focus on those at-risk and with barriers
Items needed: Gift certificates from clothing stores and grocery stores

YMCA of Greater Toronto – Vanuley Street Drop-in/YMCA House
7 Vanauley Street
Candace Klimuk, 416-603-6366 x33209,
Clients: Youth 16-24
Event: Holiday Meal – December 23, 2013
Items needed: Warm clothing such as scarves, gloves and hats; socks and underwear

YWCA Toronto
87 Elm Street
Melissa Zoltak, 416-961-8101 x332,
Clients: Women and children
Items needed: Gift cards to No Frills, Wal-Mart, Winners, movie theatres, etc.; TTC tokens; new winter clothing for women and children such as jackets, boots, mittens, gloves, hats and scarves; new school supplies for children including backpacks and lunch bags; new toiletry bags

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

two × one =