In My Opinion: There are many ways local residents can help Community Centre 55’s Share A Christmas Program

Community Centre 55 Executive Director Reza Khoshdel writes that support from local residents is critical to the success of this year's Share A Christmas Program in East Toronto. Photo by Alan Shackleton.



Christmas is just around the corner! For some, this holiday season means warm holiday meals with family and friends, and of course, presents under the tree. For others, however, this reality is not the case.

The holiday season presents additional challenges for those struggling with food and shelter insecurity. Through our collective efforts as a community, we can help alleviate those challenges for our fellow neighbours this year. After all, the real purpose of Christmas is to spread love and kindness with those around you.

Community Centre 55 is proud to once again feed those in our neighbourhood who might otherwise go hungry over the holidays, and gift our children and youth who might otherwise receive nothing on Christmas morning.

I am reaching out to the community for your help to make this possible because our Share A Christmas Program cannot be successful without your generosity and support.

This year, we will provide grocery gift cards and toys to more than 1,000 families in need and it will take the collective action of hundreds of donors and volunteers to make it happen.

There are many ways to help your neighbours in need this holiday season:

• A monetary donation (eligible for tax receipts) to our Share A Christmas Program, which helps us purchase grocery gift cards so individuals and families can buy the groceries that are tailored to their preferences, religious requirements, and dietary needs.

• We gladly accept new and unwrapped toy donations here at Community Centre 55.

• Our Adopt a Family & Adopt a Senior Programs match a family, local business, or group with a senior or family (depending on the program) in our community who are in need. The adoptee receives a hamper of goods and/or a grocery gift card.

• Support our Teen Angel program by buying much needed teen presents or gift cards in denominations of $30 to $50.

• Volunteer your time and efforts to help sort/pack gifts and toys that will be delivered to kids and families.

• If you wish to donate non-perishable food products, you are encouraged to donate them to the Calvary Baptist Church food bank program located at 72 Main St. Donations drop times are Wednesdays 11 a.m.-1 p.m. or Thursdays after 4:30 p.m.

Thank you very much to everyone that helps us with our Share A Christmas Program. If you have donated your time or money in the past, I offer my deepest appreciation and hope we can count on your generosity again this year.

To those who are hearing about our program for the first time, I hope you consider assisting a great local initiative this holiday season.

Community Centre 55 is located at 97 Main St. and we can be reached at 416-691-1113. Our doors are always open with love and compassion.

Merry Christmas to all!

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