6 Do-Good, Feel-Good Holiday Activities

Skating, building snowmen and drinking hot chocolate are holiday traditions we all love but, this year, why not start a tradition that will make a real difference in the lives of the people that we share this world with? Here are a few volunteer activities that will help you do good and feel good this holiday season.

Volunteer at a community kitchen

Community kitchens prepare and serve meals to people who might be homeless or have lessened access to food. At a time of year that’s all about feasting on food and indulging in drink, volunteering at a community kitchen can make a real difference for people who aren’t surrounded by such abundance. It will also give you a greater appreciation for the holiday dinner you get to share with your family. Check out The Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto for opportunities to volunteer in their community kitchen.

Volunteer at a food bank

Another way you can make a difference in the lives of people who have lessened access to food is by volunteering at a food bank. During the holiday season, food banks see an increase in food donations, which is great, but they often need some helping hands to process and sort all the donations coming in. That’s why, each year, the Daily Bread Food Bank holds three food sorting events in Toronto in December where members of the public are asked to come in and assist in sorting donations from their various food drives. Registration is open so make sure to sign up.

Give your time to a women’s shelter

This year, make good on your promise to support other women and volunteer at a women’s shelter or resource center, like Sistering in Toronto, where you can use your own knowledge and skills to run groups, classes, workshops and other programs that empower and enhance the lives of women with less access to these kinds of opportunities and resources. Did you spend time teaching English abroad? Why not teach it to women here in Canada? Did you do your yoga teacher training? Lead a yoga session for some women who could use the mood boost. Are you a massage therapist? A nutritionist? A manicurist? A hair dresser? Really good at cooking or woodworking or painting? We’re willing to bet there’s something you can share.

Send a care package to northern communities

You think your grocery bill is ridiculous? In many of the northern communities of Canada, residents are forced to pay some shocking prices for food. We’re talking about $11 for a can of tomatoes, $20 for a box of rice, $30 for orange juice. These prices, in combination with low income and unemployment, has left many families in these communities hungry. For this to change, our government needs to address the causes of these food security issues but, until that happens, you can help these residents feed their families by sending them care packages of food through the Facebook page, Helping Our Northern Neighbours. You can even collect food donations from your family, friends and colleagues.

Donate a period care package to homeless women

Getting your period sucks. But you know what sucks even more? Getting your period when you are homeless and don’t have the supplies you need to deal with it. Women make up about 30 per cent of the homeless population in Canada and most don’t have access to products like pads and tampons. That’s why Rebecca Denise recently launched Bitches Build Empires, which creates period care packages for homeless women in Toronto. Each care package includes a box of tampons, a box of pads, a package of baby wipes, a bottle of pain relief medication and some chocolate. (You even get a Bitches Build Empires pin for donating. That’s a message that we’d rock any day.)

Do a coat drive with friends and family

Canadian winters are tough and they can be even tougher for people who don’t have warm winter clothing, whether they are an adult living on the street, a youth living in a shelter or the child of a family living in poverty that has to walk to school in the cold every morning. To help keep our community warm this winter, let your family and friends know on social media that you will be holding a coat drive, ask them to clean out their closets, schedule a time to pick up their donations and then bring your bundle of coats to a place like the Red Door Family Shelter.

Tags: Christmas, coat drive, do-good activities, donate, food bank, Give Back, holiday activities, holiday season, Holidays, volunteer

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