It is officially the Holiday season and a time of good will and cheer. There is nothing more rewarding than helping those in need and giving them a reason to smile. We can make a difference in the lives of those struggling by providing a meal, care package, and hope. Some suffer from a lot more stress and judgement from others and desperately need understanding and compassion for their situation. If volunteering is something that interests you, but not sure where to begin, please consider one of the following five.
The Carnegie Community Center is a recreational center that is often called the living room of the Downtown Eastside. It gained the nickname from the number of neighbourhood residents using it for social, educational, and recreational reasons. Most of the programs are run by volunteer workers with many different activities and opportunities. These jobs include, but are not limited to, kitchen assistant, reception, learning center tutor, and gym monitor. Volunteering comes with its benefits: full course banquets once a month, free four to five-day trips, day trips, and other fantastic rewards. You can help keep this neighbourhood hub alive by contacting the center for volunteer services, or donating to help keep programs running.
The easiest way to give back to the local community is by donating food, volunteering in a kitchen, or simply giving money. Everyone deserves wholesome meals as one of their basic fundamental human rights, and this is something the Food Bank addresses. Fresh ingredients are recovered from local farms, food wholesalers, restaurants, grocery stores, and other sources to provide balanced meals for the people in need. Along with serving meals, they offer education on nutrition, food choices, and cooking skills for maintaining a healthy diet. There are many opportunities to help out with events throughout the city listed on their events page.
First United Church works to help the homeless population of the downtown eastside who have no shelter or a place to go by providing them with a safe, welcoming place. This is especially necessary in the winter season when the weather is cold and dreary, and everyone deserves warmth. They are placed at a home, and case workers help these people back on their feet by giving them guidance they need for a better future. Get involved by volunteering at the frontline with the public, behind the scenes, or at special events.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Gospel Mission’s Christmas Dinner. If you have never heard of this annual tradition, it is a gathering for over 3000 struggling and homeless people. The organization’s mission is to transform communities from poverty, addiction, and homelessness. They hope to build integrity for the people, and strong relationships in creating change in their lives and community. To participate in the cause, help is always welcome in the kitchen, a thrift store, outreach, and admin. There are many who benefit from this mission at the seven locations in the lower mainland.
The Gift of Giving
The Gift of Giving is a sponsored event held annually that began in 2015. The event is to provide a gift to women in need for the holidays: a care kit with body wash, feminine hygiene products, cozy socks, and under garments with a hand written card for extra holiday magic. A woman’s health is important, and these gifts will be helpful steps in improving their well-being. You can contact Danielle Wiebe at firstname.lastname@example.org to make a $25 donation towards sponsoring a gift.
Seeing a person’s eyes light up with joy and hope when you show them your kindness and love is a priceless moment. A strong community begins with compassion for one another, without that there is no humanity. Working for an organization, or creating a work event for charity equally makes a difference. Be an example, a leader, and give the gift of love this Holiday season and new year.