5 ways to show your support for local charities this holiday season

Dec 4 2019, 7:31 am

Written for Daily Hive by Charlotte Barbour, a travel and lifestyle writer based in Vancouver.


With the Christmas countdown now in full swing, Vancouverites are gearing up to tackle card writing, Christmas lights, and endless gift lists. But what if you could offer the most rewarding gift this holiday season, by contributing to those who need it the most?  

Here are five charities hoping to spread the Christmas cheer even further this year. 

Gift a shoebox for homeless women

holiday charities

Shoebox Project

After noticing the opportunities available to provide gifts to children experiencing homeless during the holiday season, it occurred to sisters-in-law Jessica, Caroline, Vanessa, and Katy Mulroney that no such gift drives were available for the children’s mothers. 

Hoping to be able to help this underserved demographic feel valued, respected, and most importantly, seen, the group and their friends began creating gift boxes for local women during the holidays. What started as a local campaign grew legs, and in 2011 The Shoebox Project was born. 

Between now and December 11, you can donate a shoebox worth $50 to a drop-off location in Vancouver, which will benefit women who are homeless or at risk, including those in emergency shelters, shelters for victims of abuse, and supportive housing. Suggestions for gifts include warm items of clothing, body lotion, gift cards, subway tokens, and supportive messages. 

Find out more about The Shoebox Project, including other ways to get involved this holiday season. 

Organize a community fundraiser for children with special needs

holiday charities

Variety BC

Variety BC is the Children’s Charity which “steps in where health care ends.” Since 1966, Variety BC has raised funds and provided grants to individuals and organizations for equipment, supplies and programs for children with special needs in BC. 

Variety BC is now launching a new campaign, Families Helping Families, which aims to raise much-needed funding to support families of children with Type 1 Diabetes. In order to provide the necessary support, the charity hopes to raise $250,000, which will help 50 families across BC.

What better time than during the season of giving to team up with friends, family, or colleagues to fundraise for children with special needs and their families? Brainstorm ideas as wild as you like, and start your community fundraising story today. 

You can also volunteer or find out how to donate to Variety BC.

Stuff a stocking for local seniors

holiday charities

Stocking Stuffers for Seniors/London Drugs

We often busy ourselves checking items off the Christmas wishlists of children, but there are thousands of isolated seniors in BC for whom a gift-filled stocking could make their holiday season.

Now in its third year, the Stocking Stuffers for Seniors campaign partners with local care homes, charities, and organizations to bring more holiday cheer to seniors in their communities. Last year the effort of campaign donors saw gifts being delivered to over 10,000 seniors across Western Canada.  

It doesn’t matter what you include as long as items are new and non-gift wrapped. Popular gifts for seniors include books, magazines, board games, puzzles, warm pieces of clothing, and kitchen essentials. 

Head to your local London Drugs store before December 16 to support this year’s campaign and help bring a smile to the faces of 17,000 local seniors in time for Christmas. 

Help out at a Santa Parade

holiday charities

New Westminster Santa Parade / City of New Westminster

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) has experienced significant growth since it was set up in 1983. Today it provides assistance to over 28,000 people weekly, and receives, purchases and distributes approximately 4.2 million pounds of food each year

The GVFB is now accepting volunteers to help at New Westminster’s Santa Parade on December 15. Volunteers will support the events team and assist with fundraising and customer service. If you can help take donations, fill guests in on information about the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, assist with the setting up/taking down of the parade, and most importantly be friendly and energetic, apply today to volunteer and bring Christmas cheer. 

Donate to support homelessness prevention

holiday charities

(Photographee.eu/Shutterstock)

Since its birth in 2008, Streetohome has directly helped more than 2,600 vulnerable people find stability in their lives, and the charity remains dedicated in its overarching goal towards preventing homelessness in Vancouver. 

Streetohome works to meet the housing, addiction, education, and employment needs of individuals who are homeless, at-risk of homelessness, or have experienced homelessness. Support is provided to help people overcome addiction, gain employment, and move into safe housing. Streetohome also works to address the root causes of homelessness in its plan to prevent it from happening entirely.   

The charity is currently fundraising for three addiction recovery projects, as well as a prevention initiative that will help to connect individuals to resources based on their unique needs, while combating the stigma of being homeless. 

Find out more about how to donate to Streetohome.