Day 11: Pitching In with a gift


“Please don’t forget me.”

This is what a woman said to me on the phone last week.  She was one of the many people who were concerned that her Christmas Food Hamper would not be delivered and that somehow her name had gotten lost.

Uncertainty and doubt is a common sight for many non-profit organizations.  Where will my next meal come from? Will I overcome my illness? Will I lose in my struggle with this addiction? I can’t pay my rent this month, will I get evicted?

How do we answer these questions?  With the giving spirit and kindness of volunteers many of them will receive the right answer.  Yes, here is some food. Yes, we will walk with you on your road to recovery.  Yes, we will find you the resources and ensure that you stay housed.

On the other side of the coin, people at this time of year, are swept up in the spirit of giving and wonder where to direct their gifts.   It can be a hard to decide.  There are many needs, many organizations and many causes all asking for your support.  Who should you help?  How will you ensure that the families who need help can get some?

One place you can start is your phone book yellow pages.  What are your interests?  Do you like animals?  Where is the local animal shelter? It is very likely they will always need your help with money, volunteering or gifts in kind. Does someone in your family have an addiction they are struggling with?  There are probably treatment programs in your area that could use your help.

Another great place to start to find the contact information for a non-profit in need of assistance is 211 (more info from our blog here and from their website here) or locally, the Community Information Centre, operated in KW by the Social Planning Council.

If you’re interested in helping programs and agencies that work with people’s immediate needs the Community Information Centre has a handy resource on their website.  It’s a listing of places that help with immediate needs (here) like hospitals, emergency shelters for men, women and youth; as well as programs that assist with food.  They also have a listing of some of the key programs that help with other needs (here) like legal advice, counselling, housing and clothing.

This can be a quick start to finding the right place for you, if you are looking donate.  But maybe you want to learn more about the organization before you write the cheque? You can give them a call and ask them some questions, or you can look them up on the Canada Revenue Agencies website (here), where you can find out more about their financial details and operations.  Most organizations will have an annual report that they will be happy to send you, or you can even find it on their website  (our’s is here).

Non-profits depend on donations to do their work.  If you are not able to make a financial contribution, consider your closets and basement and attic.  You may have some new or gently used clothing, furniture, books, dishes or toys that may delight and make a huge difference to someone in need.  However, consider your intended recipient before driving a truck load of stuff over.  Now is a busy season and many people are in a similar mindset to your own.  It’s hard to help others when you’re up to your neck in bags of clothing, and it’s heartbreaking to have to throw something out because it was left on your doorstep over the weekend and is now waterlogged, falling apart and filthy after getting rained on.  If you have the space to hold onto it, maybe they would appreciate it sometime in the new year?

Every little bit helps.  Even if it’s a set of mugs that you never really needed, or ten spare dollars that you have to share.  It all gets put to use, helping others, and ensuring that they are not forgotten, now, or any other time, the rest of the year.

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