By Lauren Donnelly
VANCOUVER – While it is always a good time to help to those in need, the holidays — with their emphasis on family, finances, and food — may prove to be even lonelier and more difficult than usual for many. Here, we’ve compiled just a few ways to give back to the community this season. Even the smallest gesture can make the biggest difference.
FEEDING THE HOMELESS AT CHRISTMAS
December 18 at Pigeon Park
12 years ago, the Servants of Hope Society started coming together at Pigeon Park at Christmas to feed the homeless. Over 150 people who have overcome substance abuse come together annually to bring a message of hope and recovery through meals and outreach. There’s a whole community of living proof that recovery is possible. Give by volunteering for the December 18 event or donating items like food, blankets, warm clothing, and gift wrap. The Society relies on donations to support its initiatives, including sober living facilities to help people transition to addiction-free lives.
FOOTSORE NO MORE PROGRAM AT FIRST UNITED CHURCH
First United Church is located at 320 East Hastings Street
Vancouver’s First United Church provides community outreach with its popular Footsore No More program. Community members can drop in to get foot care from volunteers. Providing foot baths, wound care, fresh pairs of socks, and conversation, the program combines relaxation and self-care. It’s just one of many initiatives and services First United Church offers in order to promote dignity and health. There are many ways to help: volunteer, or donate clothing, toiletries, money, or even Shopper’s Optimum points. Improving someone’s quality of life is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE WOMEN’S CENTRE HOLIDAY CAMPAIGN AND EVENTS
Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre is located at 302 Columbia Street
The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre provides a safe, non-judgmental environment for women in the Downtown Eastside. Help their holiday wishes come true by dropping off donations of new, unwrapped toiletries, scarves, hats, socks, make-up, and children’s books and toys. Here, stocking stuffer-priced gifts can really make a difference: $5 is enough to provide one woman with access to a hot meal, a safe space, and support services. Or get the Santa’s workshop experience by volunteering to sort donations from December 1-23.