5 ways to give back this holiday season

‘Tis the season of giving—giving back that is! Many people love to help their communities at this time of the year, often donating to their favourite charity. There are many other ways to give back over the holidays that ask only for a little of your time, talent or energy. Here are five senior-friendly ways to make a difference:

Put together toiletry kits for a women’s shelter

Get together with friends, family, your book club or fellow residents at your retirement residence to assemble kits for a women’s shelter. Women in shelters often arrive with almost nothing; they are grateful for new toiletry items such as toothpaste, soap and shampoo.

Contact the shelter directly to make sure your kits meet their requirements. The bonus? You not only help vulnerable women, but you also have a fun and fulfilling holiday group get-together.

Bring pet food, blankets or toys to your local animal shelter

We all cherish our pets, and even if you don’t have a furry friend, you can help your local animal shelter by offering a donation of food, blankets or dog or cat toys. Contact the shelter first to see what they need.

Send a holiday message to Canadian military personnel stationed overseas

For troops stationed overseas, spending time away from family can be particularly tough over the holidays. You can send them an online message of greeting or appreciation via a Canadian Armed Forces web page. There are also instructions on how to mail letters addressed to “Any Canadian Armed Forces Member.”

Volunteer to wrap presents at a mall

Some charitable organizations raise money by offering volunteers who will wrap gifts at local malls in exchange for a donation. It’s a fun way of meeting shoppers and enjoying the holiday spirit. Contact your local mall to inquire which charity will be staffing its gift-wrapping booth, then call that charity to see which shifts are available.

Fulfill a deserving senior’s wish by donating to Wish of a Lifetime Canada

For a financial donation with a difference, why not make a holiday gift to Wish of a Lifetime Canada, Chartwell Retirement Residence’s charitable partner? This organization is dedicated to changing the way society views and values older people by fulfilling deserving seniors’ dreams and sharing their inspiring stories. While visiting their site you may also be inspired to nominate a senior you know (yourself included)!

Are you a resident in a seniors’ community and want to give back?

Many retirement residences provide holiday (and year-round) opportunities for residents and staff to give back to their local communities. At Chartwell, their H.O.P.E. program (Helping Others for Purposeful Engagement) does exactly that, encouraging residents to give back locally, nationally or globally in ways that are meaningful to them.

Individual Chartwell residences have organized holiday toy drives, filled shoe boxes for children in need in developing countries, and held bake and craft sales, all for the charity of their choice. The results have been fantastic, with residents enjoying coming together for a good cause—often culminating in a holiday party—and forging stronger ties with their local community.

To learn more about Chartwell’s H.O.P.E., click here.