The holidays are fun and exciting. They’re a time to gather with family and loved ones, and enjoy great food and fun festivities. However, for some, the holidays aren’t as romantic as we see in the movies, especially for those in need. Within our community there are a number of organizations who want to make the holidays a joyous season for all. Whether it’s toys, clothes, and food, or simply valuable time and presence, the following groups could really use your holiday spirit, donations and time.
Every December, Mission Services decorates its Good Food Centre into a holiday room with fresh food and toys to share with families in Hamilton. They offer compassionate, dignified care for every person who comes through their doors, while providing a number of items to help make the holidays special. Some of the offerings include Christmas hampers, a gift room, Sponsor-a-Family (for Inasmuch House guests), and holiday meals.
Thanks to donors and volunteers in the Greater Hamilton Area, Mission Services serves more than 1,000 families during the holiday season, including more than 1,500 children. Every child receives a new toy and young adults receive a gift card to buy something of their own choosing. If you would like to provide a gift and / or contribute to the food drive, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-528-4211 ext. 3102.
The Good Shepherd is in need of good volunteers. From food prep and meal serving to child minding and homework help, there is something for every skill set and commitment level. This year’s Christmas Marketplace at the Venture Centre will bring the joy of the holiday season to more than 6,000 people with a market that runs from Dec. 7 to Dec. 21. During this time, Good Shepherd welcomes 2,418 households, with 2,300 adults and 4,400 children shopping the marketplace for food, clothing, and new toys. During the market, more than 1,000 volunteers support shoppers, bag groceries and toys, and restock the shelves.
Another great event is Good Shepherd’s Christmas Wonderland, taking place on Dec.16 at the Hamilton Convention Centre. Guests can enjoy a festive meal served by Good Shepherd’s staff and volunteers. Following dinner, children can go wild in a magical play area and visit Santa. Every child receives a brand-new toy, and Santa hasn’t forgotten the young at heart: adults will also receive a gift.
With help, Good Shepherd can provide families, and especially children, with hope and dignity. If you want to learn more about available volunteer positions, please contact Marilyn at 905-528-6565 ext. 3333.
The Hamilton Dream Centre helps families in need have a wonderful Christmas. Parents or grandparents can come to the “toy store” before Christmas to choose a toy for the children in their family. They will also receive all the makings for a turkey dinner. Donations above $10 are tax deductible. Individuals, work places, churches, or families can join together to help others this Christmas. Donations can be made at the office located at 627 Main Steet East, or 905-527-8605. or through the website at www.hamiltondreamcenter.ca
Sponsor Our Families provides gifts to brighten a struggling family’s Christmas. Donations help families in the Family Centre, Women’s and Youth Services, and Seniors’ programs who face loneliness or personal crises that result in homelessness. For more information about this special program, contact Ruth at 289-921-5429.
Food items on the high-need list for all organizations include peanut butter, canned tuna, dry lentils, beans, chick peas, instant oatmeal packages, peanut free school snacks, baby diapers, formula and food, hygiene products, healthy cereal, canned vegetables, fruit cups, toys, warm socks and underwear, toiletries, gift cards, pajamas, hats, mitts and scarves, and gifts for teens.
The holidays can be a wonderful time of year. If you’re able to donate to one of these organizations, you would bring holiday cheer to someone who truly needs it.