Giving back to your community over the holidays

Whether you’re celebrating a holiday this season or not, the winter break is a good time for all of us, including our kids, to think about what we can do to give back to our communities. There are countless worthy causes that you can get involved with, as many of you surely are already, but if you’re looking for some inspiration, here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Shovel a neighbour’s driveway: Have a elderly neighbour who could use some help when the first show falls? Grab a shovel and help them out – I guarantee it will make someone very happy! This one is a great to do with kids, everyone can help!
  • Participate in a Holiday Food Sort at the Daily Break Foodbank: Every year hundreds of volunteers help sort through thousands of pounds of Holiday Drive food donations! Three are happening this month (December 24, December 28 and December 29), and online registration begins on December 15th.  The food sorts are great for the whole family and provide an important opportunity to see a food bank in action.

"Daily Break Food Bank Visit," CC Image Courtesy of Michael Ignatieff on Flickr.

“Daily Break Food Bank Visit,” CC Image Courtesy of Michael Ignatieff on Flickr.

  • Donate used clothing to those in need: Go through your closets and drawers with your kids and collect items that are no longer worn. You can donate used clothing to a number of organizations in the city, including new initiatives to support incoming Syrian refugees.  Bonus: this activity will help clear out closet space and de-clutter your home!
  • Host a fundraiser event for your family and friends and donate the funds to a cause that matters to you: You can make a craft, bake cookies, or put on a concert for your friends and family and collect donations for one of the many worthy charity organizations in the city.
  • Have a car? Why not help out as a Central Neighbourhood House Friendly Visitor! This program runs from Dec 1st-24th 2015 and provides holiday cheer to those with low mobility or living in isolation. As long as an adult driver is available, children and youth are welcome to join.

Anything you can do to make a life a little better for others is valuable. Take some time over this Winter break to talk to your children about how they can give back today, and continue this practice even after the holidays are over.
For more volunteer opportunities in Toronto check out


Emma Helfand-Green

Emma is in her second year of the Master of Public Policy program. She recently completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph, studying psychology and political science. When she is not blogging for the Family Care Office, you might find Emma volunteering at the Hart House theatre, working hard (or hardly working) at the Robarts Library, or spending quality time with her cat, Goose.

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