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Let Your Heart Shine - Give To Those In Need

Generosity takes on many forms. If you have time and money and an overflowing heart this holiday season, consider donating to those who are without.

During the Christmas season, shopping, wrapping and giving is in the forefront of our minds. It’s also the season when our thoughts turn to those who need help. If your heart is overflowing with love and generosity, there are so many ways you can reach out to help others - not only at this time, but also all year long.

Helping your neighbours

For families who have lost loved ones to an illness, suicide or an accident, the holiday season is heart-wrenchingly difficult. It can be nearly impossible to carry on with their daily lives, let alone go through the motions of celebrating during the holidays. If you know someone who has lost a child, a parent or a partner, reach out. Offer to help with shopping and gift-wrapping, cook a meal for the family, or pack a box with food items and gift cards that will help ease the burden of responsibilities that come at this time of year.

This season can also be a very lonely time for seniors. If you have an elderly neighbour, plan to visit during the holidays. Offer to shovel the driveway and sidewalk. Bring a basket of goodies. While you’re preparing your holiday meals, create a few extra individual portions for your senior neighbour to enjoy.

Give from your bank account

If you prefer to make financial donations, these charities would be very grateful for your contribution.

The Salvation Army, recognized by its kettles used for collecting donations in shopping centres and on street corners, counts on you to dig deep into your pockets to aid in the fight against poverty.

For many, eating nutritious meals regularly isn’t easy or possible. Meals on Wheels accepts donations so they can continue to make and deliver healthy in-home meals to the elderly, the working homeless, vulnerable school children, and those who want to maintain independence in their homes.

The Christmas Bureau provides families and individuals with Christmas hampers filled with basic necessities and small gifts during the holiday season. They rely on your generous donations to provide these necessities for the underprivileged.

Be a gift-giving angel

Most children anxiously wait for the moment when they can open gifts on Christmas morning. For families that cannot afford basic necessities, buying gifts is simply not possible.

The Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree program is a chance to purchase gifts for a child or an entire family in need. Western Financial Group’s head office participated in the program this year purchasing presents for over 100 children!

The Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation accepts new toys and books for their young patients to enjoy. View their holiday wish list here.

Donate your time

If you have time to spare, why not don an elf costume to bring joy and gifts to families in need?

The Magic of Christmas delivers gifts to families in need. They need volunteers who are willing to play one of Santa’s elves —to bring joy and gifts to these families.

If you love animals, there are animal shelters looking for volunteers to provide one-on-one interaction and loving care for rescued pets. The Alberta Animal Rescue Society, The Alberta SPCA, Calgary Animal Rescue Society, and The Calgary Humane Society are just a few shelters that need your help.

Give goods and supplies

The loss of a job, an unexpected illness or domestic violence forces many Canadians to turn to food banks and shelters for assistance. You can help these agencies provide the necessities to those clients who count on them to get by all year long.

All local food banks accept non-perishable food donations that are distributed to individuals who cannot afford to buy their own. Western Financial Group held a contest to raise $736 for their local food bank. The Western Communities Foundation added $500 bringing the amount to $1,236.

The Drop-In Centre and Hope Mission are shelters that require donations of basic hygiene items, clothes, boots, tools, and even laptops to help these men and women of Calgary and Edmonton escape the cycle of poverty.

The Mustard Seed is a homeless shelter in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer that supports adults experiencing poverty and homelessness. Individuals and families can provide urgently needed items such as transit tickets, toiletries and footwear. Check the website for a list of most-needed items.

Families torn apart by domestic violence often flee with very few possessions. Many women’s shelters across Calgary and Edmonton, which can be found on The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters directory, accept gift donations.

Some Alberta families cannot afford necessities like food, blankets and clothing. Inn From the Cold relies on the generous donations of Calgarians to provide Christmas hampers with essentials.

Generosity takes on many forms. If you have time and/or money and an overflowing heart this holiday season, consider donating to those who are without. It is perhaps the greatest gift you will give.

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