Thursday, November 15, 2012

It Matters: Why you need to give back

Growing up in the inner city shaped who I am today and I can't remember one Christmas that didn't involve donations from the Christmas Bureau and Santas Anonymous.

Even though it was something my mom needed to do, I knew that when I was able to, I would find a way to give back to those charities because I remember how she went from shame to a sense of entitlement when it came to applying for hampers and presents. For her, it was, and still is, a way of life.

But it's not that way for thousands of other people who need these services and giving back, in my opinion, starts at home. Breaking the kind of cycle that I did - abusive relationships and living on welfare - wasn't really an option for me; I just never wanted to end up like my mother.

Delivering toys for Santas Anonymous our dropping off a donation for the Christmas Bureau doesn't take a lot of effort or time but it makes a difference to so many people who truly rely on these initiatives during the holidays. It made a difference when I was a kid and I never forgot it.

This year, 65,000 Edmontonians need the support of the Christmas Bureau and in order to help them the Christmas Bureau needs to raise $1.8M.

In order to do this, they are having a series of campaigns running Nov. 17 until Dec. 24:
Nov. 17-Dec.24 Lite the Trees Campaign
LOCATION: Kingsway Garden Mall, 109 street & Kingsway Ave
PRICE: Donation to the Christmas Bureau
CONTACT: Darlene Kowalchuk 780 414 7681

Dec. 7, 8, 20, 21 and 22 Edmonton Symphony Orchestra

Dec. 12 Christmas Bureau Breakfast
TIME: 7 am to 8:30 am
LOCATION: Westin Edmonton Ballroom - 10135 100 Street
PRICE: $750 for a table of 10; $75 for individual tickets
TICKETS: Gail Pharand - 780 423 7223
CONTACT: Gail Pharand -

Dec. 14 Face Off Against hunger Luncheon
TIME: 11:30 am to 1:00 pm
LOCATION: Hall D, Shaw Conference Centre
PRICE: Single Tickets $100; Table of 10 - $1,000.
TICKETS: Lauren Gilley at 780 409 5820
CONTACT: Lauren Gilley at 780 409 5820

Dec. 14 Christmas Bureau Caroling Sing-Along
TIME: 12 pm to 1 pm
LOCATION: Winspear Centre
PRICE: Donation to the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton
TICKETS: 780 454 6074
CONTACT: Darlene at 780 414 7681 or

Dec. 21 Christmas Bureau Radiothon
TIME: 7 am to 7 pm
LOCATION: Broadcast on up!99.3. Live at Kingsway Mall, main level by the food court
PRICE: Donation to the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton
CONTACT: Darlene at 780 414 7681 or

Santas Anonymous also requires volunteers and donations (especia. Delivery of the toys is Dec. 15 & 16 this year. The depot opens at 10 am but if you plan on delivering toys, be sure to be there early as there is always a long line of people who help out for this event. That doesn't mean they have enough volunteers either so don't  use waiting in line as an excuse not to help out either. Santa is watching....

How will you give back this year?

**update** If you're tweeting about Santas Anonymous or the Christmas Bureau, be sure to use the hashtag #musthavegifts Follow them on twitter, too... @SantasAnonymous and @ChristmasBureau #yeg

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