In My Opinion: ‘Tis the season for neighbours to help neighbours

Community Centre 55's Share a Christmas drive has kicked off at the FreshCo at 2490 Gerrard St E by Victoria Park. Anyone interested in participating can drop off non-perishable foot items and toys appropriate for kids 16 and under at the grocery store until Dec. 18. Above, volunteers Cameron Boyle, Catherine Baillie, FreshCo manager Jose DaSilva, Lois Young, Centre 55 event admin Jade Maitland, and Centre 55 executive director Debbie Visconti celebrate the drive's launch. PHOTO: Josh Sherman

Ready or not, Christmas is coming! For many it is a festive time, but for some, this is not the case. As Community Centre 55 makes plans to once again feed those in our neighbourhood who might otherwise go hungry over the holidays, I am reaching out to the community to help make this possible. Please show kindness and support to those right here in your neighbourhood.

This season can be a difficult time of year for those who are in need. Imagine what Dec. 25 would be like without a Christmas meal and presents under the tree. Dish them a Merry Christmas.

This year, we will provide food and toys to almost 1,000 needy families, and I’m asking you to help by making a donation to our 36th annual Share a Christmas program. Last year it took hundreds of volunteers to ensure families in our community had Christmas dinner and children had toys to open on Christmas morning. If you have donated or helped in the past, I offer my deepest appreciation.

Our Miracle on Main Street starts unfolding Monday, Dec. 18 with the packing of food and toys. All the food and toys received will be delivered to the families on Friday, Dec. 22. Please help us so families in need can enjoy a festive meal and be able to have their children open a gift on Christmas morning.

We really need your help!

Here are some easy ways to help your neighbours in need:

  • A monetary donation to our Share a Christmas campaign helps us buy turkeys, fruit, vegetables, milk, bread and other perishable foods. (Monetary donations are eligible for a tax receipt.)
  • When shopping, please consider buying some of the following much-needed non-perishable products for donation: cereal, pasta and sauce, Kraft dinner, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats and fish, peanut butter, soup, stews and baby food. Pet food is also needed for the cats and dogs of these families.
  • We gladly accept cash, food and toy donations here at Centre 55. You can also drop off non-perishable food at FreshCo (Gerrard and Victoria Park and Leslie and Lakeshore) or Value-Mart at Queen and Silver Birch. We are very grateful to our friends at FreshCo for their assistance in obtaining the non-perishable food.
  • Support our Teen Angel program by buying much needed teen presents or gift cards.
  • Volunteer your time to sort, pack and deliver the food and toys to the families.

Thank you very much to everyone that helps us with our Share a Christmas Program and our parade, you are truly appreciated. The generous donations from the parade help us purchase perishable food items.

Give Where U Live, and hundreds of families will be truly grateful on Christmas day.

Community Centre 55 is located at 97 Main St, and we can be reached at (416) 691-1113.

A Very Merry Christmas to you, and yours!

Debbie Visconti is the executive director of Community Centre 55 and the president of the Beach Metro News board of directors. 

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