Make a Difference This Holiday Season

Monday, December 6th, 2010

The holiday season can be a tough time for those of us on a tighter budget. This holiday season, the Fraser Valley Pulse family is coming together to help make a difference to those less fortunate around us – and we encourage you to do the same! Many local charities and organizations are in dire need of help this time of year, and certainly appreciate any form of generosity.

Not only is giving back a great way to spend a few hours (even with family and friends) this holiday season, it is also a deeply humbling experience. Use these suggestions to start a new tradition this year that makes a difference, or share some of your own ideas with us!

Hold a Neighbourhood/Workplace/Daycare Food Drive

Somehow, it’s always contagious when someone you know starts a food drive. To you, those canned peas may be just another food item your little ones refuse to eat, but to some people they are a blessing. Organize a food drive of your own, and be the one to encourage family and friends to drop off whatever they can. Most importantly – have fun with it and be creative! Put up a mini Christmas tree to put the items underĀ  or make fun emails to send out in the office. If you have a particularly competitive group, why not make it a contest (The person who brings in the least has to do the office coffee runs for a week!)?

Lend a Hand at a Local Soup Kitchen – Local Salvation Army

Even during our toughest times, there will always be someone less fortunate than us. One of the most rewarding things to do during the holiday season is to help out at your local soup kitchen. Soup kitchens and food banks are especially busy during this time of year because of the weather, and often becomes a safe haven for those who find Christmas time an especially difficult time.

Assemble Christmas Hampers – Local Salvation Army

Although the salvation army looks to the generosity of the community to fill the Christmas Hampers every year, it isn’t the only way to help out. Dozens of hampers need to be put together every year, and hardworking individuals are needed to help sort, pack and deliver this packages of goodies before Christmas.

De-clutter Your Coat Closet

Everyone has them – those coats from 8 years ago that you never wear, but just can’t part with. This year, considering finally doing away with them, and dropping them off to one of the many coat and winter-wear drives in the Fraser Valley. Unlike dropping them off at Value Village, these drives get the articles of clothing out to the people that need them most, to stay warm during the winter. Realtors Care Blanket Drive is a great organization that takes jackets, toques and gloves as well as blankets.

Take Part in Operation Red Nose

Take a stand against drunk driving and help your community get home safely during the holiday season. The same as last year, this organization is looking for volunteers to operate phones, make dispatches, navigate and drive. Because Red Nose only operates on weeknights during the holiday season, it is a good volunteer opportunity for individuals who work full time during the day.

Reduce Your Rates

Are you a professional? Consider offering your services at a reduced rate to someone who normally would not be able to afford it. It could be a haircut, a mini portrait session, or an art or piano lesson. To the family down the street, any of those could be the best Christmas present they’ve received in years.

Enter in the 12 Days of Christmas

If you have at least $5 to spare this year, why not donate and receive a ballot for one of our great daily giveaways for our 12 Days of Christmas in the Fraser Valley? Donate at least $5 to the charity of the day (and even receive a tax deductible receipt), and be rewarded with an entry into our amazing daily draws! See here for more information, and details on how to enter.

Volunteer

Because volunteering planning begins weeks in advance leading up to the holiday season, organizations do not commonly accept “drop in” volunteers. If you are interested in helping out in any volunteer position in the next coming weeks, we encourage you to contact the organization as soon as possible to help them get ready for you!.

Local Salvation Army Care & Share Centres

Chilliwack
45746 Yale Rd
Ring: 604-792-0001

Abbotsford
34081 Gladys Avenue
Ring: 604-852-9305

Surrey
#4 – 13570 78th Ave
Ring: 604-507-4860

Local Operation Red Nose Headquarters

Chilliwack – 604.393.3023

Abbotsford/Mission – 604.864.4657

Langley/Surrey – 604.532.0888

Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows – 604.515.6673spacer.gif



Contributor: Shannon Clattenburg

Shannon Clattenburg is a creative spirit first and a freelance writer second. She is a features writer for Fraser Valley Pulse and has a love for uncovering hidden gems throughout the Fraser Valley . She lives in Chilliwack with her boyfriend and her doggy Rolo. Twitter: @OrdinaryShan



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