The holidays are a time of abundance, which also means an abundance of good will to help others. You know that not everyone has the chance to enjoy the festivities at this time of year. You want to help people who don’t have food on the table, families around them, or roofs over their heads. And you wonder how you can help!
In this featured topic, we give you a quick guide to generosity that will inspire you to do whatever you can to show your local love!
Did you know?
Childhood experiences lay the roots of a lifelong commitment
Francis is involved in his community through different organizations, including as a volunteer on Centraide’s agency allocations committee.
“I became concerned about poverty and social exclusion issues when I was just 10 years old, when my father moved our family to Haiti. My father is from Haiti and my mother is from Quebec. I was from Boucherville, a suburb where children don’t want for anything. In Haiti, I was the white boy. In Canada, I was a foreigner. I had to find my way in both places, and at times I felt quite isolated.
Haiti was a big culture shock for me. For example, there’s such a gap between the poor and the well- off, you can’t believe your eyes! But then, after a while, you become blind to the poverty around you, which is equally unbelievable.
That said, the children who play in the street feel no barriers. Rich or poor, we all had fun together with what we had on hand, like marbles, jacks, or dominoes. I had a bicycle and others didn’t, so I would loan them mine. Things were simple.
I came back to Canada at age 19 to realize my dream of becoming a lawyer. After that, I felt that I had the time and the tools to help others and that I could start getting involved in local agencies.
I like volunteering and donating my time, skills and life experience to a cause that makes a difference in people’s lives, without expecting anything in return—although the feeling I get from it is incredible.
The causes I’m involved in have a direct link to my childhood. I have seen, felt and experienced poverty and social isolation. By getting involved, I feel like I’m taking action against an unjust situation.
As the father of two young children, I am particularly concerned about childhood poverty. I really want all children to have the same opportunities that mine do: to grow up happy and, above all, to be heard.
When I meet people who receive help from Centraide-supported agencies, I truly feel that my commitment has an impact. I recently got to talk to Ludovic and Leïla, two children who send letters through the kids’ help mail program. Seeing all these people help them and how good it makes the kids feel in this crucial period of their lives is priceless.
I’m proud to give my time. It’s incredible to get home at night after spending three hours at an agency and receiving so much gratitude. You feel so light!”
This is the value of candy, sweets and snacks sold by Canada's major retailers in December, or the month with the highest sales.
Can you share a bit of sweetness with people in need?
Some holiday initiatives
Christmas thrift stores
Thrift stores are an alternative to traditional Christmas baskets.
Organized as a food market, thrift stores let people buy the Christmas foods they like in exchange for a small contribution of 10% for the cost of their groceries. People can also request a ride back home after they shop.
Helping out at the thrift store in your neighbourhood also means becoming part of a support network, as everyone who registers is met with individually by a counsellor, who provides references to other community services and agencies (literacy, addiction, housing, etc.).
This year in Montreal
- 18 thrift stores open
- 5,010 families will receive groceries and gifts
- 15,030 individuals will get help
- 2,000 volunteers will get involved
Similar initiatives are organized in Laval and on the South Shore.
Santa visits people in psychiatric care
In mid-December, ALPABEM (Association lavalloise de parents et amis pour le bien-être mental) will hand out greeting cards and gift baskets of seasonal essentials (slippers, magazines, beauty and hygiene products, and comforting sweets like chocolates) to people in psychiatric care in the Laval territory.
A holiday volunteer squad
Once again this year, Action Centre-ville's community workers will be increasing their holiday visits with seniors and other residents at the Habitations Jeanne-Mance, a downtown HLM.
You have until midnight on December 31 to make your donation and get a tax credit for the year. Get double the benefits: help others and receive a tax benefit!
Did you know? A donation of $100 only costs you $67.
Be generous! And get back your tax dollars.