The holidays can be a beautiful time of year.
A time of warmth, family, friends, and food.
But unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone in Toronto this year. And the City of Toronto has provided its 2016 Holiday Wish List containing organizations and shelters looking for assistance this season.
And although below are agencies requiring volunteers, most also take donations. Take some time, gather some friends, and head to a community organization this December. You’ll make a big difference in someone’s life.
The Agincourt Community Services Association serves homeless and underhoused individuals, seniors, children and newcomers.
Volunteers needed: Food bank sorters and drivers, toy drive volunteers
Address: 4155 Sheppard Avenue East
This community and health centre serves marginalized adults 25 to 60, many with mental health and addictions issues, are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Volunteers needed: To prepare and serve meals in their Community Dining Program
Address: 1900 Davenport Road
The Dixon Hall shelter serves homeless women and men.
Volunteers needed: To assist with preparing and packaging holiday gifts, helping with serving food during holiday/Christmas dinner
Address: 2714 Danforth Avenue
Eva’s Initiative serves youth between the ages of 16 and 24. Although they need volunteers, they also seek the following items: Gift cards for food and clothing, TTC tokens; men’s and women’s fall and winter Jackets, pyjamas, underwear and socks all sizes, slippers, handbags, belts for men, boots for men, jeans for men size 32-36, flip flops for men and women various sizes, backpacks; hygiene items such as deodorant, cologne, perfume, shampoo and conditioner, brushes, combs, toothbrushes, razors, bath and hand towels; new bedding such as sheets, pillow cases, pillows (must be made out of fire retardant material), blankets, comforters; appliances such as a refrigerator/freezer (commercial use), electric kettle, tread mill, gym equipment; kitchen items such as plates, dishes, pot, pans, utensils; art supplies for programs, blank T-shirts for art programs; X-Box games; tickets to events; and holiday decorations.
Volunteers needed: To assist with cooking and recreational activities (Eva’s Satellite location)
Address: 425 Adelaide Street West
Another youth shelter, serving homeless or at-risk youth 16-24, and youth with young children. Along with volunteers, feel free to drop off winter clothing such as hats, gloves, coats, scarves, socks; hygiene items such as body wash, soap, shampoo, deodorant, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, brushes, combs, towels, face cloths; TTC tokens; chocolate; toys for children age 0-17; gift cards for coffee houses, stores, malls, movie theatres, fast food restaurants; and computers.
Volunteers needed: To assist with organizing the shelter’s food room and donation room, hosting a meal or helping prepare meals, wrapping gifts, organizing a donation drive, and cleaning the shelter
Address: 422 Gilbert Avenue
Houselink Community Homes serves men, women, youth and children living with mental health concerns.
Volunteers needed: Assistance with serving meals, set-up/clean-up for the annual Holiday Party and Christmas Day dinner
Address: 806 Bloor Street West
Inrerval House on Bloor serves women and children fleeing domestic violence. Besides volunteering, they are looking for gift cards for food and groceries, newborn items, winter jackets, household appliances, toiletries such as shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products, brushes, diapers.
Volunteers needed: To assist with sorting and cleaning during the holidays
Address: 131 Bloor Street West
A homeless youth service, helping youth between 16 to 24.
Volunteers needed: To assist with gift wrapping, sorting donations, and serving food on Christmas day
Address: 1076 Pape Avenue
This centre services aboriginal women and youth. Along with volunteering, the centre needs coats, hats, boots, gloves, scarves, warm sweaters, socks; food bank items, non-perishable, healthy food for families; gifts for women and children of all ages.
Volunteers needed: To assist with sorting and organizing non-perishable food items in our food bank, distribution of food on Fridays 10 am-12:30 pm; janitorial support, cleaning the Centre; kitchen help, putting away food when delivered from Second Harvest, preparing food for daily lunch program; preparing food, organizing at venue, serving dinners, clean upo assist with gift wrapping, sorting donations, and serving food on Christmas day
Address: 191 Gerrard Street East
Raising the Roof assists homeless persons.
Volunteers needed: To assist with bringing attention to the issue of homelessness in the communities at major events and by selling Raising the Roof toques to raise money for local community agencies who provide services to people facing homelessness. Locations may be indoors or outdoors.
Address: 263 Eglinton Avenue West
This family shelter serves single women, single mothers and two-parents families. It is always seeking hygiene items, feminine hygienic products, diapers sizes 3-6, baby wipes, baby shampoo, baby lotion; new winter clothing all sizes and ages, coats, jackets, boots; and grocery store gift cards.
Volunteers needed: Please contact volunteer coordinator, Vinyse Barber at 416-915-5671 ext 235
Address: 21 Carlaw Avenue
The Riverdale Housing Action Group helps low-income women and families. Items needed include financial donations and gift cards (grocery store); wrapping paper, gift bags, bows and ribbon; hygiene items such as shampoo, toothpaste, hair products, toothbrushes, shaving equipment, make-up, perfumes; gifts for children, family board games, books, toys, sports equipment; gifts for babies clothing, food, diapers, formula; gifts for women/young men, headphones, winter clothing; holiday meal food, turkeys, potatoes, roast, vegetables; craft and art supplies.
Volunteers needed: To assist with wrapping holiday gifts, help with outreach and fundraising, set-up/take-down of holiday party, kitchen and meal preparation for holiday party, entertainment (singers, actors, comedians, dancers, musicians) for holiday party, and craft table volunteers for holiday party. The party is on December 15 at Ralph Thorton Centre, 765 Queen Street East.
Address: 357 Coxwell Avenue
Romero House assists refugee claimant families.
Volunteers needed: To assist in the kitchen, and with the children’s activities at the Evening of Peace celebration on December 25 for nearly 200 current or former residents of Romero House
Address: 1558 Bloor Street West
Sistering serves marginalized, homeless and precariously-house women, many with substance use and mental health issues. Women’s products are always welcome to be dropped off.
Volunteers needed: To assist in the kitchen and with serving food, sorting donations and preparing gift baskets, and decorating
Address: 962 Bloor Street West
This downtown Centre serves street involved, marginalized individual of all ages. Feel free to drop off winter items such as men’s and women’s socks, underwear, heavy coats, warm sweaters, hoodies, gloves, toques.
Volunteers needed: To assist with community meal program
Address: 25 Augusta Avenue
These Salvation Army Residence serves homeless women.
Volunteers needed: To assist seasonally, on-going or one-time
Volunteer help needed at both locations:
Evangeline Residence – 2808 Dundas Street West
Florence Booth House – 723 Queen Street West
The Toronto Community Hostel serves refugees, families, singles and couples.
Volunteers needed: To assist with wrapping gifts and help at annual Christmas party on December 17
Address: 191 Spadina Avenue
This centre servies homeless individuals.
Volunteers needed: To assist with serving Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinner, help handing out donations
Address: 23 Grange Road
The Weston King Neighbourhood Centre serves seniors, homeless and marginally housed people in Weston/Mount Dennis.
Volunteers needed: To assist in the kitchen, serving of food, and clothing, bank organizers
Address: 2017 Weston Road
Wychwood serves homeless and socially isolated individuals.
Volunteers needed: To assist with food preparation and serving of Holiday Dinner on December 21 from 11 am to 2 pm
Address: 729 St Clair Avenue West
This youth shelter serves homeless youth between the ages of 16 and 24.
Volunteers needed: To prepare, provide and serve a meal for 53 youth. The upcoming holiday event “Home for the Holidays Breakfast” is at Cineplex Odeon Theatre, Queensway on November 16 from 7:30 to 9 am
Address: 9 Warrendale Crt.