One sure-fire way to capture the holiday spirit this year is to brighten the season for a single-parent family.
The YWCA’s Presents of Peace holiday giving program matches donors with families in need of some extra help over the holidays. Simply sign up as a donor and you will be assigned a family for the holiday season.
Donors are asked to purchase a grocery gift card for their assigned family. They are also given a list of the family members and some ideas for presents to buy for them. What makes the program unique is that donors arrange to drop off the presents to their assigned family and meet the individuals they are helping in person.
Classic LifeCare regularly supports Crabtree Corner, the YWCA’s community resource centre providing programs and services for families who need them most. Located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, one of Canada’s most impoverished neighbourhoods, Crabtree Corner helps women and their families improve the quality of their lives. Many of the families supported by Crabtree participate in Presents of Peace.
Vanessa Wellington, Donor Relations Manager with the YWCA, says she is amazed at the generosity and experiences inspired by the program, even after running Presents of Peace for 10 years.
She says she sees the same donor groups year after year participating in Presents of Peace. Groups of friends, book clubs, corporations and individuals participate as donors.
She said one woman who received a hamper from Presents of Peace a few years ago later returned as a program sponsor.
“She was a single mother who needed help at the time,” says Vanessa. “She ended up receiving a bursary from the YWCA to go to school and learn a trade and once she was back on her feet a few years later, she decided she wanted to help someone else.”
2013 Presents of Peace recipient Cheryl-Ann Henning, who, along with her son, Ben, was sponsored by Margot Young and her daughter Neve, wrote the following about the program:
“Ben and my involvement in the 2013 Presents of Peace Christmas hamper program was timely, magical and joyous! Connecting with our sponsor filled our lives with the magical experience of receiving the gifts of generosity and kindness – along with wonderful store-bought surprises – and groceries for Christmas dinner.
After seven years of Christmases filled with loss and the emotional pain of Ben being prevented from enjoying a peaceful and happy Christmas, Presents of Peace afforded me the opportunity of creating a memorable celebration for us both. There are no words to describe the joy that overflowed in my heart watching Ben’s eyes – once again – glisten with appreciation, excitement and pure happiness!! The magic of Christmas was restored to our lives and we hope – one day in the not too distant future – to pay this experience forward to another family in need at Christmas time.”
To support a family, visit www.ywcavan.org/pop. Approximately 400 families are registered so donor spots are limited.
All gifts must be dropped off before December 19.