Donations: the gift that gives back

STORY BY DANIELLA BACIGALUPO, SARAH SIMPSON, ANDREA CARDENAS, ALEXANDRA CRESPO

How will you help this holiday season?

The holidays are the perfect time to reunite with family, say thanks, and just spend time with your loved ones and get some rest from the daily routine. 

This year things are going to be different. The way families celebrate the holidays will be affected by Covid. But it doesn’t mean that some traditions have to change. 

One of the holiday traditions families have is donating to charities that will help people who need it the most. Around Canada, there are over 170,000 organizations in the Charity and Non-profit sector. 

Some of these organizations work internationally, while others work locally. In Toronto, there are around 5,000 charities; some of them have special events for the holidays. Salvation Army is one of the international organizations that focuses locally and internationally, and a locally based charity named SafetyNet in Oakville.

Salvation Army is a Christian organization that helps 400 communities in Canada and works in 132 countries. 

It was founded in 1865 by William Booth in London, England. Its principal objective is to fight against injustices in society. In 1880 they began to work abroad.

They offer different options for people to donate, whether it’s money, clothing, furniture, or food, the Salvation Army has options. They also partner up with stores like Walmart to offer other ways of donation. If what people want is to volunteer, they also have a few programs where they need volunteers.

At this time of the year, they have something called Christmas assistance, with the donations of people, they help families with food and gifts for children. Also, one of their most famous volunteer and fundraiser activities is the Christmas kettle, which is going to be considerably affected by Covid restrictions. 

But the Salvation Army does not stop there. Donations of clothes are still an option. They have a safety plan to keep everyone who wants to donate safe, and also all the volunteers who are working hard this time of the year.

The Salvation Army has different donation centers across the GTA, with four located in Oakville.  

Another donation center is the Safetynet Children & Youth Charities. Located in Oakville the founder Bill Shields started this organization in 2007, after working in Social Services for 30 years. 

Safetynet offers a ton of services, such as volunteer work and donations. From monetary to household items, they accept all sorts of donations year-round. This holiday season they are returning with their annual Holiday Elves program. This year alone 275 families have registered with them and are all now sponsored! 

Many can still help and donate. Due to Covid restrictions to be able to donate you will need to book an appointment before dropping off anything. 

Although organizations aren’t the only way people can donate. While it may be a tad more costly, people can put together donation packages and send them to wherever they want themselves. 

Mariana Correa a 21-year-old Mississauga resident shared her experiences on donating out of pocket. “My family and I have been donating since we first came to Canada around 15 years ago,” says Mariana via phone call. “For the holidays, the Spanish community holds a toy drive. We pick a different city every year in Colombia and we send boxes of toys for kids.”

Mariana and her family believe in the importance of donating to those less fortunate and have enlisted help from companies to lower shipping costs.

“We do use partners, for example, we know this guy who runs a company that sends boxes to different countries,” says Mariana. “It’s called Selentrega, so we use him and he gives us a special discount as a way to help us.”

As the holidays are approaching quickly and the world continues to stay in a state of limbo, this holiday season will be different than any other. While many go through old toys or clothing to make room for new gifts, keep in mind that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. A simple donation can go a long way. So, stay safe and give back.

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