Remember when I told you last week to count your blessings? Nothing could be more true of this upcoming holiday season. In my Facebook travels today I came across the most wonderful cause and I immediately wanted to sign up so I could pay it forward.
Like I said, we are so fortunate to have a warm and welcoming home, the luxury of heat, electricity and running water and never having to choose between paying our power bill or stocking our fridge but there are so many families that are not nearly as lucky as we are.
According to the United Way, 120,000 people are living in poverty in the Alberta Capital Region. Poverty refers to so much more than just being able to meet the most basic of needs like food, clothing and shelter. They describe poverty as “a loss of self-esteem, identity, privilege and power…it’s the absence of more than just money.” But it doesn’t have to be like this forever, if we all made a small contribution (what we’re able) every little bit will count.
There are so many ways you can help this season and giving FEELS SO GOOD! I encourage you all to check out these links and remember this is only a small portion of what’s available in our area. Find something that fits your family and help another this season.
Sponsor a Family
Before November 30 through the Junior Chamber International Edmonton you can sign up to sponsor a family and on December 1 you will be given your family. You get to go shopping for the family members and then meet at Northlands where you’ll pick up a Christmas turkey and ham along with your family’s address and deliver it to their door. This is something our family has done before and there is no greater joy that seeing the look of pure gratitude on a faces of a family in need that you were able to bless. There’s a great little vid on their website so take a gander over there and watch it.
The Edmonton Food Bank also has a similar program that’s very easy to work into your schedule. You can put together a festive hamper at your convenience and drop it off at their warehouse, 11508-120 Street, anytime between 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday. There’s lists of items organized by size of family on their November 2013 blog page that you can print off to help with your shopping. For more information, call the Edmonton Food Bank at 780-425-2133.
Donate Gently Used Warm Clothing
The United Way has a campaign called Coats for Kids & Families that collects gently used warm winter clothing for children and adults and distributes them to those in need. The collection happens from October 16 to December 6 so there’s only a week left in this years’ donation campaign but some of the depots do accept them longer so don’t let that deter you. Go through your closet and take your coats to any Cleaning by Page location or click here for a detailed list of their depots.
Buy One Extra Toy
The 630 CHED Santa’s Anonymous Campaign has one wish every Christmas; to see each child get a new toy under their tree. They are devoted to bettering the lives of children in the Edmonton area by delivering the spirit of Christmas to them every year. Purchase a new wrapped toy and drop it off at your nearest location. They also like to remind anyone that is donating that the toys are delivered to children within the Edmonton limits so if you’re from the sticks like us and you’d prefer to see your donations stay within your area, contact your local Family Community Support Services office (associated with your County or Municipality) and they can direct you to a local donation center or your local food bank.
Give Your Time
The Mustard Seed is a Christian organization with three locations in Alberta working tirelessly to help those in impoverish situations. They have a Christmas Wish List of their own that includes some simple volunteer opportunities that won’t cost a dime. Get some friends together and volunteer for an evening, you’ll probably end up getting more out of it that you have to give.
Drop Your Spare Change
Christmas time in the malls is always crazy but near all the exits you will hear a familiar ringing of Christmas bells that’s associated with the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign. All donations go towards programs that support individuals and families in need this Christmas season. You can also volunteer to man a kettle and ring that bell! As well, the Salvation Army also has a Sponsor A Family campaign, click to fill out an Edmonton Family Application.
Of course, all of these organizations also accept monetary donations and are able to take your generosity over the phone, in-person or online. To donate to any of these agencies, just click these links and they will take you to the donation pages on their websites.
There’s also lots of donation bins all over the city right now too. And remember that any events happening in your communities will almost always have a bin available for donations to their local food banks. Please support them, you never know what your generosity will mean to someone in need.
Lastly, I’m sure you’re all aware that this weekend is Thanksgiving weekend in the United States which also means it’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the most shopped days of the calendar year. What I bet you don’t know is that the Tuesday that follows this weekend is known as Giving Tuesday thanks to a movement that swept the United States in 2012. The end of Thanksgiving weekend marks the official beginning of the Christmas season in the US and the premise behind Giving Tuesday was to start off the Christmas season by giving back. What will you do on Giving Tuesday?
Give generously this holiday season and remember what the spirit of Christmas is all about; paying it forward. Love, Kim.