Reported by Michele Paulse
During the holiday season community organizations are giving back to those in need.
Giving back to those who need it most
Taryl Guenter, communications coordinator at Christ Church Cathedral, said giving back at this time of year is more important than ever.
“A sense of community is important to us here and ensure as much as possible, everyone is included in that community,” said Guenter. “We try to take care of one another.”
Christ Church runs the Maundy Café, a daily food program that serves 400 people a week, and gift giving was added to the program in December.
“We are collecting a few different items of clothing for people who come here for meals quite frequently, so we’re requesting dry socks, we requesting t-shirts,” Guenter said.
Christ Church has been extending its Christmas giving program to the Downtown Eastside.
“We are collecting items for the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre,” Guenter said.
Essential items needed the most
Parishioners are the main donors of gifts to the women’s centre, and they give items the centre asks for: toiletries, mittens, toques, games and toys for children.
At Mission Possible, an organization in the Downtown Eastside, clients have the opportunity to get what they want for Christmas by writing the type of gift they’d like to receive on the organization’s Christmas wish list.
“We do this thing every year for regular participants,” said Rod Janz, manager of communications and development at Mission Possible.
Janz said that getting the gift they want makes a big difference to how people feel about Christmas.
“We sometimes do up to 100 gifts a year at Christmas time,” he said.
Mission Possible serves those 18 and older, and asks for donations from the public that have a value of up to $20.
“People can supply a really specific thing that people need,” Janz said. “Often it’s gloves, or coat, or socks or sometimes really practical things like art supplies so they can make a picture.”
“It was awesome to watch people’s faces as they received the gift [they wanted], even though they already knew what it was,” Jenny Hawkinson, a volunteer at Mission Possible, said in an email.
“It meant so much to people to know that someone was shopping for them,” she said.