giving back


It can be a little overwhelming at this time of year – trying to balance the excitement of getting with the deeper joy of giving.  So, we’ve made it a little easier to choose a charitable organization your child can really identify with.

We have something for the art lover, the good sport, the environmentalist, the global giver and more as well as ways to give back as a family. Think about sharing your time, shopping for a shoebox full of treats, a senior stocking or picking a very special gift from a different kind of catalog.

Read on for a range of opportunities tailored to suit your child… and, when you get to the bottom, there’s a little thank you.

The Arts Lover

Your family can share the gift of live theatre with 25 children this year!

Each year, Wee Festival brings drama, puppetry and excitement to toronto’s youngest children but not every family can afford tockets. Why not make your family a Ticket Angel this year. A one-time donation of $250 will buy tickets for 25 children who might otherwise not be able to attend a play this year.

Ticket Angels can dedicate and direct their gift to a group of their choice or allow the WeeFestival to extend the invitation to one of the many daycares and kindergarten classes that would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend.

When you become a Ticket Angel, the WeeFestival will provide:

  • Invitation to WeeFestival Reception
  • Tax Receipt in the full amount
  • WeeFestival Poster designed by Kinnon Elliot
  • Special Recognition in the WeeFestival program
  • Verbal Recognition in advance of performances supported by your gift
  • Thank you pictures and messages from the group or class you have supported!

Find out more…

Inner City Angels
Got an artist in the family? Give back through a donation to arts education programs in inner city and priority neighbourhoods throughout Toronto.

MusicBox Children’s Charity
Is there a mini Mozart in your household? They’ll appreciate giving to this program run by University of Toronto students who provide workshops, classes and performances of a musical nature to disadvantaged children.

Making a Global Difference

Survival Gifts are real gifts that are guaranteed to reach children in vulnerable communities around the world.

UNICEF Canada Survival Gifts are a collection of over 65 charity gifts essential for child survival, protection and development – available both as online and offline catalogues. They are not only gifts that give back but real items that are distributed to children and their families in response to real need. Your donation gifts will provide hope and a more stable future to the most vulnerable children in the world.
Survival Gifts make wonderful last-minute gifts for teachers, holiday hosts, and for anyone who has everything.

Feed The Children
Give the best gift ever! Purchase practical provisions such as livestock, school uniforms and clean water for overseas children affected by poverty. This year, every single donation will be matched by a generous private donor.

Founded in 1995 by a group of 12-year-olds, began as Free the Children – the world’s largest network of children helping children, with more than one million children involved in 45 countries. Through its transformation to, the charity now reaches out build We villages around the world – bringing education, food, water and hope to children and their communities. At home, is helping to raise a generous of leaders in global change-making. Make a donation or choose a gift from their beautiful holiday catalog.

Kiva connects thousands of people to borrowers and partner institutions around the world, working together to create opportunity and alleviate poverty. It only takes $25 to get started.

Lifeline Syria
The Lifeline Syria Fund helps bring and settle Syrian refugees to the Greater Toronto Area. You and your family could sponsor a refugee family now!

Oxfam Unwrapped
When was the last time you gave a donkey, beehive, chicken or vegetable garden for Christmas? Oxfam’s Unwrapped gifts change lives throughout the world.

Sleeping Children Around the World
Help a child have a good night’s sleep by providing a bed kit.

World Vision
Gifts from the World Vision catalogue change the lives of children worldwide, everyday. This year, the Canadian government is matching donations made by individuals to help people affected by violence in Myanmar.

The Animal Lover

BC Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program
Does your child who loves whales? Why not gift them (or gift on behalf of them) a killer whale. No extra-large bathtub required, just some wall space for a certificate of adoption and an ID photo and biography of ‘their’ whale.

Toronto Humane Society
Founded in 1887, The Toronto Humane Society has been helping animals in need for over 125 years. In addition to their adoption services, they run a Spay/Neuter Clinic and a Pet Food Bank. If you’re in the market for a family pet, check out their adopt-a-pet page and consider making a donation to help fund their services.

Toronto Zoo Foundation
Does your child have a favourite Zoo animal? What about gifting it this year. Your adoption will help protect endangered species and contribute to conservation efforts. A lovely gift for a teacher or grandparent who will be thrilled to be the proud parent of a two toed sloth minus the stress of having to feed it.

World Wildlife Fund
Stuffies anyone?! Here’s your chance to contribute to World Wildlife Fund’s global conservation efforts and receive an adorable plush animal as a keepsake for your child. There are many animals to choose from including a hippopotamus, blue-footed booby and even a narwhal. A great gift for children’s friends as well.

The Environmentalist

David Suzuki Foundation
David Suzuki and environmentalism go hand in hand. His well-organized, informative website is filled with green tips and ways to make a difference. Help him fight the good fight through a donation; they have a special holiday card option as well, which is perfect for the festive season.

Evergreen aims to create greener more sustainable cities; Evergreen Brickworks is but one example of their contributions to urban life. Spread the love through their Give The Gift That Grows program and choose from their many initiatives such as, planting a tree, a field trip for a student and planting wildflowers to attract bees.

Greenpeace has been fighting to protect the environment since the seventies. From dwindling polar bears to pollution many kids are well aware and passionate about environmental stewardship. Giving a gift donation to Greenpeace will help kids feel they are making a difference.

High Park Nature Centre
416-392-1748 x2
The Nature centre delivers playful and imaginative programming which helps foster a love of nature in urban children through exploring High Park. Help these programs thrive through a donation or donate to the Happy Camper Fund and help send a city kid to camp in nature!

Toronto Parks & Trees Foundation
Support Toronto’s Greenbelt; make a donation or purchase a Toronto Tree Portraits 2017 Calendar for a lovely gift.

The P.I.N.E. Project
The P.I.N.E. Project gets children outside in all seasons enjoying, learning and engaging in nature. The Best Day Ever Fund helps fund these programs and deliver subsidies when needed.

The Sports Enthusiast

Canadian Tire | Jumpstart
In Canada 1 in 3 families can’t afford to enrol their kids in organized sport and recreation. Give the gift of sport this holiday season.

Right to Play Canada
A donation to Right to Play helps children, regardless of income, have access to regular structured sport and play activities.

Santa’s Little Helper

Children’s Aid Foundation
Share the spirit of the season and

A gift to the Teddy Bear Fund is symbolic of adding a child in care to your own family. Gifts to the Teddy Bear Fund fill the gap between what children in care need to survive and what they need to thrive – much as a caring parent would. In care kids have wish lists that include tutoring, soccer classes, musical instruments and so many other things we take for granted.

Covenant House Toronto
Covenant House has a Street Kids Giving Program where a donation of $8 a month, for example, provides an a kid with clean clothes and a bed for the night at Covenant House.

Daily Bread Food Bank
In addition to helping people access food, information & referral services, Daily Bread Food Bank works to create a safe, supportive and respectful space to help overcome barriers that often come with living on a low income. Just $1 provides 1 meal!

Habitat for Humanity Canada
Through purchasing a gift from Habitat for Humanity’s gift catalogue you will be providing a hand up for a family. Each donation goes toward buying the materials needed to build a home.

Nellie’s Shelter
Nellie’s provides shelter, education and advocacy for women and children and they need your support more than ever during the holidays! Nellie’s is specifically looking for the following household items that women need after they secured housing and leave the safe house:

  • Blow up (or air) mattresses – preferably new
  • Sheet sets (single and double) – must be new
  • Pots & Pans
  • Dishes & cutlery
  • Blow dryers/flat irons
  • Alarm clocks
  • Towels – must be new
  • No Frills/Walmart gift cards to help women buy groceries

Sick Kids – Get Better Gifts
Gifts designed to bring holiday joy into a sick kids life. A donation of $20, for example, buys a gingerbread cookie decorating party and $30 decks the hospital halls with festive decorations.

The Redwood Shelter
Help The Redwood purchase much-needed practical items for families arriving at the emergency shelter throughout the year. Your support will also provide celebrations such as birthdays and family outings. You can also stop by Scooter Girl Toys to purchase a gift certificate so a mom at Redwood can shop for her own children!

Toronto Star Santa Claus Fund
Help supply gift boxes to 45,000 needy children.

The New Mom Project
The New Mom Project collects donations of gently used or new items and distributes them to families in need with a special focus on providing the basic necessities for newborns. Learn more about ways to help here...

Volunteering Together

Holiday Helpers
Holiday Helpers lets you play Santa this season, albeit without the sleigh (must provide your own). This non-profit organization delivers Christmas packages to low income families, and relies on adult or 14+ volunteers for wrapping. Families sign up for delivery shifts however and travel the city playing Santa in a SUV (or a carrier bike) to drop off much-need Christmas presents.
Volunteer dates: 14, 15 & 16 Dec
Find out more here

The Daily Bread Food bank
Online registration begins here on December 5 at 10am.
At this annual event, hundreds of volunteers will help sort through thousands of pounds of holiday drive food donations.
This year, there are three public food sorts and children aged 8 and up are welcome with a supervising adult.
Friday, December 22 | 10am-12:30pm, 1:30-4pm
Wednesday, December 27 | 10am-12:30pm, 1:30-4pm
Thursday, December 28 | 10am-12:30pm,

Community Centre 55 Share a Christmas Packing, Sorting & Delivery Dates
Drop-in to help, no registration needed but please do click through to get the details about child-appropriateness.
Packing & Sorting
18 Dec 6-8:30pm | 19-20 Dec 6-8pm | 21 Dec 6-8pm (no kids please on this date)
Delivery Day
22 Dec: 3pm until finished

Holiday Hampers
416.698.1626 ext. 204 |
Work together as a family to create a holiday hamper for a family in need in the Taylor Massey, Lumsden Crescent Town and Oakridge Neighbourhoods. The Holiday Hamper Program is hoping to assist 100 families this year with help from donors and volunteers. Last year, 222 children and 151 adults received a holiday meal, gifts, warm clothing, and other essential household items to enjoy over the holiday season.
Find out more here…

Woodgreen Community Services
Woodgreen offers a pair of great ways to get involved as a family this year. Kids can help create a Stocking for a Senior or craft a Holiday Care Package for individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty.

Second Harvest Turkey Drive
On December 2-3 & 9-10, Second Harvest hosts its annual Turkey Drive and need lots of volunteers to ensure hungry Torontonians can enjoy a warm, holiday meal.
Volunteers are stationed at Loblaws locations across Toronto to ask customers to purchase a turkey and donate it to Second Harvest. The turkeys will be distributed, through our agencies, to people in need during the holiday season.  Tasks include promoting the event in store, helping customers pick out frozen turkeys, loading donated turkeys onto our Second Harvest trucks and dressing up as our turkey mascot!
Shifts: 9:30am-1:30pm or 1:00pm-5:00pm
Children aged 14 and under are welcome with a supervising adult

The Shoebox Project
Get your kids together to shop, pack and drop off a shoebox full of treats and necessities to women who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness in your Toronto neighbourhood. Some families ask their children to do chores or help out in the neighbourhood or at home in order to earn the money to contribute towards the $5o recommended value in each shoebox. 

Hunger Patrol Team
St. Olave’s is home to the Hunger Patrol, a weekly mobile soup kitchen run under the auspices of the Order of Malta. Volunteers are sought to make soup Saturday afternoons and/or deliver it that evening. The organization provides soup, juice and rolls, along with clothing and sleeping bags to the poor and disadvantaged. Find out how you and your family can get involved by emailing Christian at christiandelia AT

And a little thank you…

On November 30th, we’ll have a little bundle of gifts to give away to some lucky subscribers. If you don’t yet get The Weekend Tipsheet newsletter, sign up now and we’ll put you on our list this Thursday!

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