As a mom of two young boys, I feel I have a special duty in my role as their mother. I want them to experience magic – the kind I did as a little girl. But when it comes to the holidays, we can’t have magic without gratitude. At the ages of three and nearly two, my boys don’t quite grasp the true meaning of the holidays. They understand Santa, they understand their gizmos and gadgets, and they certainly understand the word ‘present’. And while the Christmas magic that comes with those luxuries is a reality for them – it’s not a reality for many individuals within our community, including children.
As my boys grow and experience the holidays, I want them to experience another form of magic my parents entrusted to me – and that’s the magic of giving back. According to the Halton Round Table 2018 Community report, there are 18,700 residents in Oakville and 13,200 residents in Burlington living in poverty. Many of them do not have the opportunity to experience the magic of Christmas – but we can change that. Through charities in Oakville and Burlington, residents like you and me can help provide basic necessities to create magical moments for families across our region.
Here are a few recommendations on where to start:
Kerr Street Mission
485 Kerr Street, Oakville
Kerr Street Mission in Oakville was created to provide help for the present and hope for the future for all those living in need in Oakville. Besides creating a place for people to gather and find help and resources, the Mission is known for its Christmas Wonders and Beyond Program. For more than 15 years, KSM has rallied the community together to help families in need to celebrate this joyous season. Through financial donations from our community, they have been able to bless over 1,200 families with gifts of food for a holiday meal, pajamas, and gift cards. Their goal this year is to once again help these families have a special and memorable holiday. The Christmas Wonders and Beyond Program runs from November 1st to December 31st.
Be A Santa to A Senior
Be A Santa to a Senior is a true community program. The program, launched by Home Instead Senior Care, partners with local businesses, charities, and volunteers to identify seniors who might not otherwise receive gifts over the holiday season. Home Instead then works with local businesses and retail stores to help facilitate the purchase and distribution of gifts by placing trees and ornaments within their various locations. Volunteers then collect, wrap, and deliver these specials gifts – just as Santa does.
Holiday Giving Program
The Compassion Society is an organization with over 1,000 clients living on or below the poverty line in Halton. For these individuals, the holidays are difficult and challenging to say the least. Through their Holiday Giving Program, the Compassion Society organizes and offers a Christmas Market where new, unwrapped gifts and retail cards are distributed to adults and children in need. In a tangible way, you can demonstrate your compassion and support to these individuals by donating gift cards or unwrapped gifts by December 9th, 2019.
Burlington Salvation Army
The Salvation Army Community and Family Services in Burlington hosts an annual Toy Mountain drive. 2019 marks the 24th anniversary of the VTC Toy Mountain Campaign benefiting The Salvation Army – and it’s so easy to make a difference. Simply donate a new, unwrapped toy to their east-end office at 5046 Mainway, Unit 2, Burlington. And please do not forget the tweens, teens, and babies. In Oakville and Burlington, The Salvation Army also runs its annual Christmas kettles campaign, which raises money to fund year-round assistance programs offered to local residents. If you see a Salvation Army volunteer with their kettle and bell, drop a few dollars in – anything helps.