Centre 55 Delivers Christmas in The Toronto Beaches
Do you remember John Lennon's "Happy Christmas" song from years ago? "So this is Christmas, And what have you done, Another year over, a new one just begun". It's one of my favourite tunes this time of year.
Sooner or later, it makes me think about how fortunate we are to enjoy Christmas with family and friends. We watch our kids' eyes light up when they open their presents. Later on we all share a great dinner and conversation.
Of course not everyone's so fortunate. In every community there are people struggling during the holidays.
Share A Christmas @ Beaches Centre 55
In recent years it’s become a Christmas tradition for our family, to contribute to our community's Centre 55 Share a Christmas program, instead of splashing out on a large holiday party with our clients and friends.
Last year we sponsored a local family - a mom with two children. The mother was on social assistance while she went back to school for upgrading courses. There was no money for 'extras'.
We shopped and wrapped gifts (from Santa) and some warm winter clothes ('from Mom') that we picked specially for the 10 year old girl and 12 year old boy. Centre 55 told us what to buy for the food hamper so they'd have everything they needed for a festive meal.
When we delivered it, the mom thanked us - a lot - for the food and gifts, but mostly for making Christmas 'special' for her kids that year. There were tears in her eyes as we left.
It was a touching experience for all of us, but most of all for our sons, who've never experienced poverty or needed charity. I'll never forget the conversations we had with them afterwards.
Why I'm Sharing Our 'Christmas Story' With You
Every year I run into friends who really wanted to donate to a Christmas program or volunteer but they've just left it too late. Or they're caught up in their own Christmas pressures and just don't 'find the time'. If that's you, here's your reminder. There's still plenty of time to call your local church or charity.
Next, I wanted to show how easy it is to do. You can give back to your community with time or money or both. It doesn't have to be a lifelong commitment. For instance, we'll be packing Christmas hampers at Centre 55 with our kids for a couple hours next weekend.
Then there's the concept that we create the kind of community we want to live in. Safe, vibrant neighbourhoods don't just happen. We create them in a hundred different ways. One way is to show compassion and support to those who need it most.
Finally, helping others enriches our own lives. You already know that if you volunteer somewhere. If not, I encourage you to try it. And what better time than now?
Please consider making the following community programs a little brighter this holiday season:
Toronto Beaches Community Centre 55 (416) 691-1113
Woodgreen Community Centres (Leslieville, Riverdale, Danforth): (416) 645-6000
I hope this finds you in good spirits and in good health. From my family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2012.