Many ways for Halifax residents to give back this holiday season

By Steve Gow

From the omnipresence of cheerful holiday music, to twinkling and brightly-coloured lights decorating the city, to a stockpile of gifts under the tree waiting to be unwrapped — there is much to celebrate during the season of Christmas.

However, one should also be reminded that the holidays are the season for giving as well as receiving and Halifax has no shortage of options to give back to our community and those who have struggled during the past year.

In fact, with a new variant of COVID-19 possibly perpetuating many of the challenges our community has already faced over nearly the past two dozen months, it is perhaps even more important to support those in need than ever before.

Below are just a few organizations and charities that have programs specifically-geared for the holidays that are aimed at providing volunteer opportunities to helpful Haligonians this holiday season.

Brunswick Street Mission

With a mandate of serving people who struggle with poverty, the Brunswick Street Mission offers a variety of ways for residents to volunteer in everything from working the phones to assisting with putting food hampers together.

Each Christmas, the organization runs a seasonal program that gives out food hampers as well as gifts to children of families in need. In addition, the Brunswick Street Mission teamed up with Adsum House and received a number of jackets as part of their annual Coats for Kids Drive, however as program manager Jillian Boutlier says in an email, “we are always on the lookout for more.”

Of course, the Mission always needs donations of non-perishable food items and canned goods in addition to winter clothing. Currently, they are only asking for warm winter gear in all sizes and plus-size clothing — but on their website, they ask people to consider ‘”would you give it to a friend or family member”. If not, they ask that people to not donate said items to needy members of the community either.

For more information on supporting the Brunswick Street Mission, visit the website.

Feed Nova Scotia

The province’s leading food distribution charity is looking for volunteer Christmas drivers. With the rewarding responsibility of picking up donations and making deliveries, this role is open to those at least 25-years-old with a valid driver’s licence.

However, people can get involved in other ways as well. Feed Nova Scotia supports an annual Christmas turkey fund and partners with Bishop’s Cellar on Case of Compassion — a fundraising campaign that allows participants to ensure a portion of their wine sales goes towards putting food on the table of a needy family.

Feed Nova Scotia is always looking for volunteers in other areas as well. Plus, people are encouraged to make monetary donations or simply enquire about co-hosting an event to raise awareness and funds.

For more information on Feed Nova Scotia’s opportunities this holiday, visit the website.

Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank

Among the many year-round contributions this North End registered charity make in the community, Parker Street is sponsor of the Turkey Club at Christmastime.  Founded in 2004, the Turkey Club is a group of dedicated volunteers who provide turkey dinner hampers to families in need during the holiday season.

People are also encouraged to donate to Parker Street’s Christmas hamper program as well as invited to become sponsors. The organization’s Christmas Sponsorship program allows families to submit wish lists and a secret Santa will purchase and wrap the presents. Those gifts are then picked up or delivered with the family’s Christmas hamper.

For more information about the Christmas Hamper Program or to enquire about being a secret Santa, visit the website.

A few other local organizations with volunteer programs or in need of donations this holiday season include:

Soul's Harbour Mission

The Salvation Army

Veith House

Be a Santa to a Senior (Home Instead) 

Freedom Kitchen (Lower Sackville) 

To browse a list of other organizations and charities, visit:

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