Getting ready for the holidays at the Centre

Nov 1, 2023

UPDATE Dec 12th:

THANK YOU! We have everything we need and beyond to make the kids holidays full of amazing gifts and laughter. You’re amazing!!

If you’d still like to contribute to the gifts, we could still use more items for the women we serve. We are extending the cut off date for dropping off donations at our 302 Columbia street drop-in centre to Saturday December 16th!

With winter around the corner, we are preparing for a mix of cheerful holiday celebrations and disheartening moments. Cold waves and heavy rain make the daily life of the women we serve even more difficult and the feeling of loneliness tends to creep in. Our holiday gatherings are all about sharing love and laughter, erasing the isolation that winter can sometimes bring. Our doors stay open, offering a warm place, food, personalized services, care and connection.

Each year, we have several celebrations to spread joy as widely as possible:

  • a children’s party: a visit from Santa, delicious festive food, warm hot chocolate, games and crafts and the chance for the children and teens to pick out a gift for themselves;
  • the traditional holiday dinner will happen on December 19th at the centre for the women we serve. A nice meal will be served and every one will get a gift bag;
  • special dinners for the Indigenous Elders and our community volunteers;
  • Christmas day brunch at the centre and gifts opening at the shelter.

How can you help?

During the winter holiday season, we rely completely on our amazing donors to help us give the women and children who access our sites a time to celebrate.

1. Make a donation to support our programs

This year, we are in dire need of funds to help us offer low-barrier employment opportunities to the women of the DTES.

2. Purchase gifts

Every year, we are carefully sorting, wrapping and packing over 800 gifts for the women we serve and their children. Every year, this happens solely thanks to the generosity of our donors who never fail to show up with amazing items!

Some important information:

  • Holiday gifts are meant to be this little special luxury. For this reason, please only bring NEW items as holiday gifts. We also prefer unwrapped items: it helps us sorting everything and make sure everyone has what they need.
    • Used items (clothing especially) are still needed and appreciated for our regular operations. Check our dedicated page to learn more about our needs and drop-off instructions.
  • To get your donations to us, drop off to 302 Columbia Street Drop-in Centre before Saturday December 16th!.

For women:

To make our life a little easier and ensure that every woman has a gift that fits her needs, we have set an online registry for you to purchase directly from (Edit Dec 12th: PAST DEADLINE) . This will allow us to better organize and evenly split the items we get and you won’t have to worry about dropping off!

Please note: if you’d like to bring your own gifts of NEW ITEMS ONLY, you can use the registry for inspiration for our needs. Donations can be dropped off to 302 Columbia Street Drop-in Centre before Saturday 16th.

For kids (0-15yo): FULL

During our holiday party, kids of the women we serve will get the opportunity to chose their own gifts.

To make this day special, here is what we are looking for:

  • Toys (action figures, dolls, stuffies, LEGO, Squishmallow…)
  • Books for all age groups
  • Gift cards (BestBuy, Sephora, Cineplex…)
  • Backpacks, sporting goods
  • Board games and video games
  • Art and crafts supplies
  • Beauty products (makeup palettes, hairstyling products, styling iron…)

3. Volunteer – FULL

UPDATE Nov 21th: THANK YOU for your enthusiasm! All our holiday-time volunteer needs are filled, stay tuned for more opportunities in the New Year!

Sign up to volunteer: this time of the year is hectic and we need lots of arms to serve food, sort and wrap gifts, manage donations and so on!