Gift giving season is upon us, whether that gift is to a loved one or a stranger.
While the holidays are a time for gathering with friends and loved ones, taking in the many twinkling lights and festivities around the city, the season is also a time for giving back to the community.
Fortunately, there are many ways to lend a merry helping hand.
Those looking to volunteer or donate to those in need over the holidays can look to these charities and causes around Vancouver:
Salvation Army Boundless Vancouver is operating a Christmas Toy Shop and Toy Drive this year, and they're looking for volunteers. Locals can participate at the Toy Shop as elves or from behind Santa's Desk, or help manage the toy drive.
Though this volunteering opportunity isn't in Vancouver, it's a good cause to participate in. Be someone's Santa this year and hand out Christmas hampers filled with winter clothing and toiletries to Surrey's unhoused folks on Christmas Day.
Food banks and toy drives
This local pet food bank provides free and low-cost pet services for homeless, low-income, and senior pet owners in the Downtown Eastside, from pet food and litter boxes to grooming and spaying/neutering. They welcome pet supplies and other donations.
This holiday charity provides kids and teens in need with meaningful gifts. Those looking to make a child smile can donate unwrapped new toys, gift cards, or anything on the bureau's wishlist.
The automotive group is holding its annual food and toy drive in support of BC Children's Hospital and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Simply bring a donation of food or toys to any Dilawri BC dealership between Nov. 21 and Dec. 3.
This year's toy drive is taking place at participating London Drugs stores around Vancouver on Dec. 8. The charity is also holding a fundraiser Christmas breakfast on Dec. 14 to raise money for toys for kids.
This charity helps provide kids in need with toys and tablets and is holding its annual toy and tablet drive in support of BC Children's Hospital Foundation on Dec. 3 this year.
Every year, this house transforms into a dazzling Christmas display. Everyone is welcome and all the owners ask for is a donation for the Surrey Food Bank, whether it's non-perishable food items or a monetary donation.
Give single mothers around Vancouver a holiday hamper. Each care package comes in a Herschel backpack and includes a grocery store gift card, hot chocolate, tea, cookies, treats, and a warm accessory. The packages are delivered to non-profits across Metro Vancouver and distributed to single mothers.
Locals can support a single-mother-led family or a youth on low income with a grocery gift card or individual gifts.
This virtual snowball fight powered by donations is helping to fund vital equipment, life-saving research, and care for kids across B.C.
The local non-profit collects and distributes blankets and warm clothing to shelters, families in need, emergency services, First Nations, and Indigenous communities across Vancouver. Their goal is to raise $23,000 by Jan. 1, 2023, through their online fundraiser.
Donate to or sponsor a local low-income family, single parent, isolated senior, or marginalized youth through the FSGV's Caring Neighbours campaign. Donations will be matched by Amazon, dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000. FSGV uses donations to purchase gift cards for those in need and sponsorship goes directly to families.
This local charity helps families who must travel far from home for their child’s life-saving medical treatment continue making memories together under one roof. There are many ways to help make the holidays merry for families through this charity:
- Donations in lieu of gifts or gift cards
- Purchase gifts from RMH BC's Virtual Wish List
- Sponsor a family's wish list
- Donate grocery kits
- Adopt-a-Day in December (cover groceries/meals for one night and a family activity)
- Adopt-a-Family (help families stay with their child throughout the treatment)
- Light the House (collect donations through the sale of paper light bulbs)
- Sponsor a tree (RMH BC has 16 trees available for families to decorate; sponsorship sends customized signage or ornaments for the tree)
- Workplace Giving (donate regulary through monthly giving or payroll deduction)
- Corporate Engagement (get your team, employees, and organization together and get involved)
The Vancouver brand is making an impact in the mental health space. Every hat purchase goes to supporting counselling and therapy for those who would otherwise be unable to afford it. Make your purchase a 1-for-1 and help pay for an entire counselling session.
Kitchen Table Restaurants
The restaurant family is continuing its five-year-tradition of supporting charities through sales of popular dishes. Order a designated dish and help out the community. In December, sales will be donated to the Music Academy.
- Ask For Luigi: Cauliflower, $19 - fried cauliflower, chickpeas, herbs, and aioli
- Bacaro: Classico in Carroza, $15 - fried mozzarella sandwich with tomato marmellata
- Carlino: Frico, $18 - traditional Friulian fried cheese, soft potatoes, slow-cooked onions
- Di Beppe: Cacio e Pepe, $25 - pasta with pecorino and black pepper
- Farina a Legna & Pizzeria Farina: Finocchiona, $24 - pizza with tomato sauce, fennel sausage, provolone, parmesan, and sweet peppers
- Pourhouse: Spicy Chicken Sandwich, $20 - buttermilk-marinated chicken, sweet Louisiana sauce, arugula, grainy ranch, and pickle on a brioche bun
The group's charitable efforts will continue into 2023 with donations going towards different local organizations each month:
- January – Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
- February – BC Hospitality Foundation
- March – Music Heals Charitable Foundation
- April – Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society
- May – BC Children’s Hospital Foundation
- June – Eastside Boxing Club
- July & August – Eat.Give.Grow by Growing Chefs
- September – Whole Way House Society
- October – Backpack Buddies
- November – Mind the Bar
- December – Saint James Music Academy
Support youth experiencing homelessness through donations and help fill a backpack with necessities for youth aged 16 to 24 years old. Drop-off for these donations is available until Dec. 16.
Donate toiletries, clothing, and other items to support those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Donations are packed into personal care kits, shelter-to-home kits, or distributed as winter donations to stay warm in the cold.
The program was created by Jewish Family Services for people in the community to support families in need to celebrate Hanukkah. Donor families are matched with an anonymous recipient family and can put together a hamper based off of information about the family.
Get a gift tag from the Christmas Tree at the nearest London Drugs store to find a wish list from a local senior, or a general wish list from a participating care home, and purchase or bring the new, non-gift-wrapped items with the gift tag to the store. You can also include a personalized card with your gift. Gifts are then delivered to local care homes, spreading around the holiday spirit.