Pay it Forward this Holiday Season in YQR & YXE

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Buying locally-made gifts and shopping at local businesses during the holiday season is a great way to support our own backyard, but why not take it one step further? There are amazing holiday initiatives in both Saskatoon and Regina that are a great way to pay it forward. Whether it’s supporting a charity or organizing an office outing for your team by volunteering your time, there are many creative ways you can help make the season just a little brighter for everyone this year.

Saskatoon Has Heart

Christmas Hampers: Holiday hamper programs are a great initiative to support another local family’s Christmas celebration. There are several programs offered in the city, including the Secret Santa Foundation, which relies on cash donations to buy food for their hampers and also collects unwrapped toys for children 14 and under, which can be dropped off at one of their locations.

The Salvation Army also runs a Christmas Hamper program, which helps thousands of families in need of food and gifts each year. They also have an Adopt-A-Family sponsorship program, where you can register to supply a hamper for a family. Hamper sizes range depending on your group, making this a great option to do as an office, organization or even with a group of friends and family.

CHEP’s Christmas Cards: CHEP Good Food is an organization in the city that works to promote and provide healthy food options to Saskatoon residents through nutrition, cooking and gardening programs. To support their initiatives they run an annual Christmas Card Fundraiser, where they sell beautiful Christmas cards made by Saskatchewan artists. Check out the 2019 collection here.

Be a Santa to a Senior Program: This initiative provides simple gifts and a personal visit to more than 700 long-term care residents, with a focus on bringing holiday cheer to seniors. To support the cause, they accept monetary donations or you can register to attend a gift delivery and offer your time through a visit. The program is run by Saskatoon’s Home Instead Senior Care, and groups are welcome to sign up for deliveries, too.

Group Volunteering: There are many local organizations that rely on volunteers yearly, and if you are looking to do group volunteering, consider checking one of these out to see if they need extra help over the holidays. At the Ronald McDonald House, their group opportunities include maintenance like snow removal and various cleaning tasks to help them run smoothly. The Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre also has volunteer opportunities, or you can organize a food drive or donate financially.

Regina Offers Hope

Haven of Hope Ministries Adopt-a-Family: Haven of Hope runs an Adopt-a-Family program where you can sign up to adopt a family’s Christmas needs by putting together a hamper, including food and gifts. Prices for hampers vary depending on the size of family, which makes this initiative a great option for an office or staff holiday activity, or even to do with your own family and friends.

Regina Food Bank Christmas Drive: The Regina Food Bank runs a Christmas drive, where you can help by collecting food to help fill their buses in December. Other ideas for food drives during the holidays include hosting your own food drive, which is a great idea for an office or business, or if you’re hosting a holiday party or event, encourage guests to bring food donations as part of the entry requirement.

Carmichael Outreach: To help with the cold winter season, Carmichael Outreach collects donations of winter jackets, boots and ski pants for children and adults. To contribute, go through your closets at home and see if you have old winter gear you no longer need. Alternatively, start an initiative in your workplace to collect winter gear, encouraging others to go through their closets too. Carmichael Outreach also accepts donations of other gently used household items, or you can always donate monetarily as well.

Souls Harbour Rescue Mission: Souls Harbour provides a ton of services to the Regina community, including affordable housing, food services, free clothing and many programs. To help them run their initiatives, you can donate money, food and clothing by checking out their donation page for what is most needed. They also have opportunities for volunteering if you’re looking to donate your time instead!

Saskatoon & Regina Know How to Give

Santa Shuffle for the Salvation Army: The Santa Shuffle Fun Run and Elf Walk is a fundraiser for the Salvation Army that happens Canada-wide on December 7. You can register as an individual, a small team or a large group. For Saskatoon information visit the page here, and for information on Regina, check it out here.