‘tis the season for GIVING BACK: How your donations of time and/or money impact the local community.

The holiday season is a time of giving, and for many this includes giving back to your community and those in need. But with so many deserving charities requiring funds and volunteers, it’s difficult to decide on where to donate your time and money this season.

Perhaps you’ve already felt inspired to do your part after reading about one of the many not-for-profit and charitable organizations we’ve covered in issues past. However, if you’re looking for something different, we’re rounding up four causes that impact us all, and the local charities supporting them – any of which will benefit greatly from your compassion.

Yellow Brick House
Yellow Brick House is on a mission to empower abused woman and children by giving them a safe space to stay after escaping a life of violence. The shelter offers myriad life-saving services, including a crisis line as well as counseling, education and support programs for women and children. In 2018, 5,581 women and children received support from Yellow Brick House. However, due to capacity restraints, 239 women and children did not have access to a shelter bed when needed. The days, weeks and months after leaving an abusive relationship are the most dangerous times for victims of violence. A lack of safe accommodation is truly life threatening.
Ways to give: Consider offering a gift or donation in honour of someone you care about by visiting yellowbrickhouse.org. You can also organize a fundraising event or corporate social responsibility program.

Imagine a world where every kid has access to a safe home. This is the vision inspiring the important work taking place through 360ºkids. The charity services over 3,400 youth in crisis across York Region through various programs, covering every need from housing, to education and employment, to wellness and support. It’s also the first Nightstop provider in Canada – a program that provides young people with a safe and warm home for the night with a vetted and approved volunteer.

Ways to give: You can make a financial donation or pledge your support with monthly giving at 360kids.ca. A $100 monthly donation provides one hour of counselling to a youth in crisis. The charity also accepts in-kind donations from the community, such as non-perishable food, clothing and hygiene items.

Hill House Hospice
When a loved one is faced with end of life issues, it’s difficult to know where to turn. The Hill House Hospice takes a holistic approach to palliative care, providing necessary medical and social support for patients and their families. The House offers a home-like alternative to institutional care, together with in-home care for those who are in the final stages of a terminal illness. It’s located on a beautiful one-acre property in Richmond Hill, featuring three bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen and a large living room with a fireplace.

Ways to give: Hill House Hospice accepts and depends on donations of all kinds – including monetary donations, publicly traded securities, and donations of goods (with a current need for liquid hand soap, coffee, dry goods such as paper towels, and laundry soap). You can also volunteer your time by providing light housekeeping, baking and/or shopping, fundraising and public awareness initiatives or by hosting your own office or family fundraiser. Visit hillhousehospice.com for more information.

Partner Dogs Canada Inc.
There’s a reason they say dogs are (hu)man’s best friend – they love us
unconditionally and provide unwavering loyalty. Service dogs in particular offer incredible support to their human companions, as they are raised and trained to perform a multitude of essential tasks. Partner Dogs Canada Inc. is a not for profit organization providing qualified service dogs for people with physical and mental disabilities. These dogs require extensive training, and research shows the average cost of a service dog is between $20,000 and $60,000. Individuals who may be unable to obtain a certified service dog through traditional channels can gain access to trained and experienced dogs through Partner Dogs Canada.

Ways to give: Donate to the Partner Dogs Canada fundraising initiative at partnerdogscanada.com. You can also volunteer your time through dog training, dog care and property maintenance, school and educational visits, fundraising, administrative tasks, and special events.

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