Ways to Give in Markham this Holiday Season
Just the other night at the dinner table with our boys (now 11 and 13) we talked about organizing a food drive in our neighborhood for the Markham Food Bank. My oldest son would create the flyer and my youngest would distribute it while delivering the Economist. A new family tradition was beginning to take shape.
This got me thinking. I’ve lived and worked
here for over 29 years and I know first hand what a giving and caring community
we have in Markham and I want to keep it that way! If you feel the same and are looking for opportunities where your family can help out, here are some great local and unique ways
to make the season merrier and brighter for others in our community.
NOURISH THE BODY, NOURISH THE SPIRIT
For many, the best of the season is celebrated by a warm meal served with a side order of loved ones. It’s the time to share the stories of seasons past and to come together. Sadly, there are some in our community who struggle to consistently have enough nourishment and the holidays are no different.
Thankfully, The Markham Food Bank has been serving the community since 1984 and has been helping support those with food insecurity when they need it most. The organization is completely run by volunteers (no one has a paid position) and was created by one resident, Jean Lee, who was concerned about the hungry in Markham.
You can help them continue support others by donating non-perishable foods, especially:
Cash donations are also welcome and you can get a tax receipt for amounts over $20. The money goes directly into maintenance and operations or in buying needed food items.
Get the kids involved by taking them along to do the shopping. Let them pick out a special (non-perishable item) to add and drop it off at 190 Bullock Drive, Unit 11 during drop-off hours or at any Markham Fire Hall. Call 905-472-2437 to arrange a pick up.
During the holiday season most grocery stores, like The Garden Basket, also have large bins in store that make it easy to purchase and then drop off at the same time.
Colour Me Mine is also helping you get into the spirit to give back by collecting non-perishables and giving $1 off studio fees for every quality non-perishable you bring in and $2 for each can of beef/chicken stew or similar type item. Plus their sample sale – beautiful pieces created by staff for display – also has proceeds going to buy food for the food bank. Showing that there are many ways to give and get!
GIVE THE JOY OF A TOY
While we all enjoy the holidays, children truly embrace the magic of the season. For some there will be little or no presents on Christmas morning. Having that package to unwrap, helping them feel special and important is really what gift giving is all about.
Join with Markham Fire and Emergency Services in their 28th Annual Toy Drive which supports not only the Salvation Army (last year they helped over 403 children have a better holiday) but also the Markham Stouffville Children’s Centre that helps provide toys to children during their hospital stay to help normalize their experience.
Just drop off any new unwrapped toys, gift cards, hats, mittens or scarves at any Fire Station, the Markham Civic Centre (or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a pick up) until December 20.
GIVE PART OF YOURSELF – LITERALLY
Want a give a gift that TRULY keeps on giving? Giving blood can be a wonderful way to celebrate the season as a family. Grab the extended clan and make a date to give blood together – it can become an annual tradition along with the turkey and squabbles. Or organize a work group or a block blood-giving party and give the best gift of all: life!
Older teens (you have to be at least 17 to donate) can get on board and little ones can help support and keep company during the process. Check out (and share) the Canadian Blood Services cute video on the importance of giving blood and make sure you take to social media with their #WrapItUpRed campaign to encourage others to get into the spirit and donate blood.
The holiday season is also the perfect time to ensure that you and your loved ones are on the Ontario Organ Donor Registry. It takes only 2 minutes to register (if you aren’t already) and can save up to 8 lives!
As usual, the best ideas begin at home. Look around your neighborhood for ways you can help. Perhaps it’s helping a senior two doors down clean off the driveway after the snow plough has come, giving the guy on your floor a hand with his groceries from the parking lot or offering to watch the kids next door while Mom finishes off her last-minute holiday shopping. There are smaller considerate ways we can help those close by enjoy the season and feel part of the community.
Also consider rallying the troops to support one of the initiatives above – offer to be the person to collect and drop off or throw a holiday social and ask everyone to bring a non-perishable item.
The wonderful thing about the spirit of giving is that is not only limited to the holiday season. The warm feelings we start during these cold winter months can last through the entire year!
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas Everyone!
Best wishes to you and your families for a healthy, happy and abundant 2015!