Christmas time is not about gifts, or shopping, or eating delicious baked goods, but more about the spirit of giving and sharing with the ones you love – and the ones who could use a little extra love.
Helping Vancouver’s most vulnerable residents doesn’t have to include cutting a cheque, but could involve volunteering at various community organizations, collecting non-perishable food for the food bank, or hosting a fundraiser for a cause close to your heart.
With the Christmas season being the most popular for people looking to give back to their community, we’ve rounded up a selection of ways you can lend a helping hand this holiay season.
Donate non-perishable food items:
Greater Vancouver Food Bank
- Where: 1150 Raymur Avenue, Vancouver
- Hours: Monday to Friday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Richmond Food Bank
- Where: 5800 Cedarbridge Way, Richmond (or any Richmond Safeway, Save-On Foods, Pricemart, IGA, or any Richmond City Community Centres)
- Hours: Regular business hours
South Delta Food Bank
- Where: 5545 Ladner Trunk Road, Delta
- Hours: Monday to Saturday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Surrey/North Delta Food Bank
- Where: 10732 City Parkway, Surrey (or various Surrey grocery stores, Costco, and fire stations)
- Hours: Regular business hours
Langley Food Bank
- Where: 5673 200 Street, Langley
- Hours: Monday to Friday; 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Where: 1073 Roosevelt Crescent, North Vancouver
- Hours: Tuesday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Host a fundraiser:
- Turn your holiday party into a fundraiser by using the Covenant House’s fundraiser organization program. Build a webpage, set goals, send emails, collect donations, and thank your supporters.
Find a volunteer position to help those in need:
- Help support homeless youth through a variety of different roles, including mentoring, administration, serving food and reception, support and special campaigns.
- More info: Covenant House volunteer page
Union Gospel Mission
- The UGM helps all kinds of people in need in Vancouver, and your help can go toward providing hot meals, performing outreach services, staffing the Thrift Store, and more.
- More info: Union Gospel Mission volunteer application
First United Church
- Help out in the community or in the First United Church’s office. They focus on the Downtown Eastside by providing a homeless shelter, meals, and hospitality services for Vancouver’s most vulnerable residents.
- More info: First United Church volunteer page
- The annual Christmas Kettle campaign always needs volunteers to collect donations outside many of Vancouver’s busy shops and services. Other volunteer opportunities also include store support, packing food hampers, and assisting seniors.
- More info: Salvation Army volunteer page
Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
- Help to provide food, shelter, clothing, and refuge for women of the Downtown Eastside. Positions include food preparation, outings, reception, hospital visits, special events, and more.
- More info: Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre volunteer page
MS Society Christmas Gift Wrapping
- Spend your time wrapping Christmas gifts at Metrotown Shopping Centre in support of the MS Society of Canada, between Friday, November 27 and December 24, 2015.
- More info: MS Society of Canada campaign page
Operation Red Nose
- Keep drunk drivers off the road and donate your services to Operation Red Nose across Metro Vancouver by giving free rides to impaired drivers during the holiday season. Volunteer in your municipality between November 27 and December 19, and on New Year’s Eve.
- More Info: ICBC Operation Red Nose page