To counteract the frenzy to buy Buy BUY all year long, it's equally important to GIVE. Times are tough these days for so many and funding is dropping. While most of us want to contribute to deserving charities, it's a bonus when you find a non-profit organization that connects with your values and life experiences. It's impossible for me to personally suggest which charities most deserve your attention. Instead, I reached out to the YMC Team who are scattered all across Canada for their input. Here is a list of some charities that could use your help. If you have a favorite non-profit, please tell me about it in the comments below so everyone can learn about it.
My favourite charity is YWCA - A Turning Point For Women. YWCA is Canada's oldest women's multi-service charity, with a number of amazing programs which address personal safety, economic security and well-being. YWCA is the largest national provider of shelter for women (about 25,000 women, children and teen girls including some 6,000 fleeing domestic violence each year). It's the largest provider of literacy, employment, life skills and counselling programs in the country, and the second largest provider of childcare.
As a young single mom, I know I'm blessed to have had a support system and resources to go back to school and start a new career. Not every woman does. YWCA does so much to help empower, encourage and support women in our communities to reach the full potential. In Halifax, F attended the daycare and I fundraised and provided mentorship to women in their Bridge to Success program. I'm looking forward to getting involved here in Moncton as well!
I'm a big supporter of Women's College Hospital Foundation.
Women's College Hospital is uniquely focused on advancing the future of women's healthcare. Whether it be mental health care and research through the reproductive years, the first sexual assault centre in Ontario, or their ambulatory model that looks to keep people OUT of the hospital and getting healthy at home - they are the future of women's health. I'm very proud to be a co-chair of their "next generation" committee, neWCHapter. Women care about the future of their healthcare - so it's important to give to that cause, so WCH can keep on being a pioneer for women's health.
My favourite charity is Garde-Manger pour tous located in the South West of Montreal. They serve 3,000 hot & healthy meals a day to kids who don't have access to a proper meal. I am participating in a Holiday Fundraising for them this Thursday to help out, and I dedicated my 1st book and most % of profits from the sales to them.
I have a charity that is very close to my heart, Sick Kids.
What can I say about Sick Kids? They save lives every day. They save children. They make life just a little bit easier for parents and family members of sick children.
I love it and support it because they saved my child and that saved me. When Tyson was diagnosed and transferred to Sick Kids the doctors told us that most children with his type of health issue die before anyone figures out what is wrong with them. Sick Kids had him home with us in 6 weeks. I can't ever repay them for what they gave me and I will always do what I can to support them.
As a (former) fundraiser I've learned about many amazing charities but one of my favourites is Ronald McDonald House.
RMHC is a home away from home for the families of sick children staying in hospitals across the country. About once a month my friends and I get together and volunteer to cook a homemade meal for the families staying at the House. With everything else going on in the lives of these families, a homemade meal they didn't have to prepare or pay for themselves is always welcomed.
My favourite charity is the Calgary Drop-In and Rehabilitation Centre.
The Drop-In Centre is a shelter for the homeless and at-risk population in Calgary. It provides services for the homeless and low-income population; people who are trying to get back on their feet but have nowhere to go. I support this charity because it strives to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness. I’ve volunteered there several times, and it is always an eye-opening experience. It’s not exactly pleasant, but it reminds me of how much I have and how much I can give. Some people are born into such bad situations, and the DI really strives to help those people.
I support The Food Bank
Our local food bank allows families who need it to come once a month and shop in the store and fill their shopping cart with meat and fruit and bread and canned goods and make sure that their kids are fed. I personally know some kids who use the food bank and are still hungry. Kids should never go hungry and I love how our community supports the food bank with food and monetary donations.
I may complain sometimes that I don't have a lot - it's the human condition to complain, of course - but I know that my children and I are very, very lucky. I try to teach my kids that not even the smallest comfort should be taken for granted, including things they don't necessarily like - like toothbrushes and soapy bath water and pencils for doing homework. That's why every year at Christmas time, our family participates in Operation Christmas Child by Samaritan's Purse. Samaritan's Purse provides a small shoe-box sized box, which we then fill with gifts of our choosing for children all over the world. We fill two boxes - one for a boy and a girl because I have one of each and the thought of another mom with children who don't own even basic necessities is heartbreaking to me. Our boxes get crammed full with things like toothbrushes and paste, soap and a washcloth, decks of cards and pencils and sharpeners, and socks and ponytail bands, games like jacks and balls, small stuffies, and also less "fun" things like Polysporin and bandaids. We attach a cheque for each box (usually $10) to help with the transportation cost of the box. The boxes are then delivered to children and families in need.
My family is directly benefitting from the amazing services provided by the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides
From guiding their partners through their daily lives to getting help when it's needed most, Dog Guides play a crucial role in the lives of Canadians with disabilities. Lions Foundation of Canada's mission is to assist Canadians with a medical or physical disability by providing them Dog Guides at no cost.
Lions Foundation of Canada trains Dog Guides and assist Canadians with a wide range of disabilities. With six programs in place, Canadians with disabilities are offered the opportunity to find greater independence, mobility and safety through the help of a Dog Guide.
The six programs are:
- Canine Vision for people who are blind or visually impaired
- Hearing Ear for people who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Autism Assistance for children who have autism spectrum disorder
- Service for people who have a physical disability
- Seizure Response for people who have epilepsy
- Diabetic Alert for people who have type 1 diabetes with hypoglycemic unawareness
It costs approximately $25,000 to raise and train a puppy and ultimately match the Dog Guide with its partner.
A mere three weeks ago, we had a very special new addition to our family. Abel is a beautiful white Standard Poodle and is my son’s new Autism Assistance Dog Guide. After 10 days of intensive handler training for me at the Dog Guides facility in Oakville, Abel came home to meet his boy and the two of them have been working on bonding ever since. Even in these early days, we already see a change in my son. He is incredibly gentle with Abel and is so calm when stroking his dog’s soft fur. We anticipate many years of companionship, calming relief, reduced anxiety and unconditional love for my child. All provided at no cost to us, with great thanks to the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides program.
I support Hamilton Food Share
It's a food bank organization that supplies the Greater Hamilton Area. At any given time, as many as 35,000 Hamiltonians are dealing with food insecurity, forced to choose between buying food and paying for a place to live.
I believe nobody should go hungry, especially kids. Children should have the right to be fed properly so they can develop to their full potential, because nutrition has a huge impact on developing brains and bodies. But even the statistics on food insecurity makes me ill given that about half of all edible food is thrown away every year in Canada. I try to donate dried vegetable products and whole meal baby food whenever I go through the grocery store. They also take monetary donations.
Roger's House is a pediatric palliative care facility located on the grounds of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). Named for longtime hockey coach Roger Nielson, the facility "provides a home-like environment" for "families with children / youth who are living with a life limiting illness that results in increased pain and symptoms and a progressive decline of health."
First of all, as parents with a healthy child, my wife and hope we never have to set foot inside Roger's House but, much like CHEO itself, there's an incredible peace of mind knowing it's in our community. I also love the tie to the local hockey community. Minor hockey teams regularly fundraise for the facility; the Ottawa Senators Foundation is a major partner for Roger's House. The whole thing is a testament to the force for good that hockey at all levels can be.
My favourite way to give actually isn't a charity - it's through an organization called Kiva which lets you loan money in small increments to people in developing countries to fund businesses, buy supplies, etc. You browse borrowers stories to decide who you would like to fund, and then get updates on borrowers' progress as they use the loans to achieve their goal. When they repay the loan - and the overwhelming majority of borrowers do - you can transfer that money over to another borrower (or you can withdraw it), lather, rinse, repeat.
My favorite charity is Save a Child's Heart Foundation is based in Israel.
Save a Child’s Heart Foundation provides free, life-saving surgery to children from developing countries and trains surgeons and other medical team members from those countries, helping them build their own future centres of competence.
What I love about this organization is that it goes beyond the areas of conflict in the Middle East. No matter where the affected child lives in the world if the medical expertise doesn't exist in their country Save a Child's Heart welcomes them to Israel and offers life saving surgery. In my own life when I want to send condolences to someone who has lost a dear one, I donate to this charity and write (for example): 'I believe that when one beautiful and important heart leaves us we can nurture another tiny heart somewhere in this world to take their important place.'
I believe in New Brunswick Public Libraries Foundation
The NBPLF raises funds in support of New Brunswick’s public library system. Thanks to the support of donors, they are able to help New Brunswick’s public libraries and bookmobiles provide more books, ebooks, music, movies, and electronic resources, free of charge, to all New Brunswickers.
I grew up in a house filled with books where, if there was a wall, there was a bookshelf. As a result, I developed a love and appreciation of the printed word. We lived in rural Ontario – way before the existence of the Internet – so often the only resources (aside from those at my elementary school), were the ones found in our family’s den. We rarely had a chance to visit an actual library. But when we did, it was magical. Now we reside in New Brunswick and when my daughter was born, we lived around the corner from our local library. Right from the start, we took part in every program available to us, from Babies in the Library to weekly Storytime programs.
I love this little library and my daughter, now six, always looks forward to our regular visits there. By donating to the New Brunswick Public Libraries Foundation every year, I’m helping to ensure that provincial libraries like ours continue to flourish and grow.
My family supports Starlight Children's Foundation of Canada
Starlight Canada is an organization that looks to improve the lives of children with serious illnesses and their families, through both in-hospital and out-of-hospital programs. This can mean an electronic fun centre, tablet, fun kit or fun room in-hospital, or a Starlight Escape, Experience or Wish out-of hospital.
What I love most about Starlight is that they include children with serious illnesses who aren't necessarily (and may never be) terminally ill. Living with a serious, chronic condition is also stressful, and I was drawn to the fact that they include these kids in all of their programming. Before I had my children, I was a volunteer Wish Granter for Starlight for many years. It was an honour to be the one to co-ordinate a child's "big wish" and see if we could make it happen.
My fave charity is Because I Am A Girl
The charity invests in girls around the world, providing access to resources like education and medical care that can help lift them out of poverty, and create an environment of equality. I love this charity because their focus is on empowering girls and women. Every girl should have access to these resources. Simply put: "Educate a girl and change the world."
My husband Dwayne and I support local charities. Our two favourites are our local food bank and a wildlife rescue organization we learned about through my brother.
The Salvation Army Milton Food Drive supports local families not just during the holidays, but throughout the year. Our family believes in supporting neighbours. We're all part of the same community and need to look out for one another.
Hobbitsee Wildlife Refuge is an organization whose goal is to care for sick, injured, or displaced native Ontario wildlife, and ultimately return them to the wild. We're not just animal lovers, we want to see animals live safely in their native habitat. This organization is about educating the community about native wildlife and helping animals live a natural life, without interference from humans.
My fave charity is Give Kids the World.
Give Kids the World is a non-profit organization that fulfills the wishes of all children with life-threatening illnesses and their families from around the world to experience a memorable, joyful, cost-free visit to the Central Florida attractions, and to enjoy the magic of Give Kids the World Village for as long s there is a need. Over 132,000 children have had their dream come true at Give Kids the World, and no child in need has ever been turned away.
This amazing charity gives sick children and their families something incredible: the gift of time to focus on being a family and having fun without having to worry about illness for a while. They also put a special emphasis on the siblings of the sick children, because so often they are overlooked because of the extra attention their brother or sister needs because of their illness.
We have been sponsoring a child through World Vision now for 7 years.
I love getting updates on how she's doing. So at Christmas time I buy gifts for teacher's though World Vision, such as mosquito nets and farm animals. The gift feels meaningful and I know it has a much bigger impact than a mug.
We support Easter Seals who help kids with physical disabilities succeed.
Variety Village works with young people with disabilities and those who face developmental barriers to achieve their life potential. Variety Village is a world recognized authority providing integrated sports and life skills programs, applied research and learning programs that change children’s lives and strengthen communities.
My go to charity is Plan Canada and Because I am a Girl, particularly their Gifts of Hope. I like the idea of giving something tangible and lasting to families that will continue to help and empower them in the long term, like a goat or school books.
My family supports SickKids Foundation. SickKids is the place nobody wants to go, but is so thankful for when they need to be there. The research they do changes lives of children around the globe and the care they offer is incredible.
We support SickKids because of all they do for kids, our daughter included. She's a patient of the SickKids cardiac clinic, and we know so many others whose lives have been touched by the incredible staff at SickKids.
And finally, here are my suggestions for worthy charities who deserve your dollars.
Life with a Baby is a not-for-profit organization whose goal is to provide ongoing practical and emotional PEER-based support for new and expecting parents, and parents of children up to the age of six. Their objective is to help reduce the isolation and anxiety that most new moms face, and in turn, minimize the likelihood of moms feeling alone and developing PPMD symptoms. I'm a big fan of their work helping moms.
I'm also a big supporter of Canadian Blood Services. A couple of years ago I almost died from blood loss and it was only while I was getting my emergency blood transfusions did I truly appreciate the importance of supporting this organization.
Canadian patients depend on Canadian Blood Services to manage a safe, secure and cost-effective blood system. They are responsible for collecting, testing and manufacturing blood, blood components and stem cells to knowledge creation and dissemination to conducting ground-breaking research. They also operate the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network. They also operate Canada's national public umbilical cord blood bank.
You can donate blood, your baby's core blood, or your organs. You can also donate dollars to help support their work.
If you haven't seen your favorite charity here, please keep the thread going by leaving a comment below for everyone to see! Before buying that one extra toy for you child they probably won't use, why not pick one of these charities who would benefit from your generosity.