The festive season is about sharing and helping each other. So why not step outside your usual circle this year, reach out to others and give your time to people in need?
Here’s how you can do it:
Distribution of hot drinks and treats to homeless people
- Team up with friends and family and give hot drinks and treats, like homemade cookies, to homeless people on the street or in a shelter.
- Invite friends and family round for a collective cooking day and prepare tourtières, fruitcakes and other Christmas goodies together. You could then share the food or give it to people in need.
- An article in Le Devoir, « La compassion dans une boîte à lunch », [Compassion in a lunch box], talks about a similar initiative.
- Invite your neighbours over for a meal or give them a treat and serenade them with a Christmas carol.
- Suggest a neighbours’ get-together to make decorations for your apartment building or the outsides of your houses and enjoy local organic appetizers and drinks.
Relieve senior's loneliness
- Many seniors live alone. So why not offer to spend time with seniors living in a residence who receive few visits? You could do a jigsaw, play a board game, ask about their youth, give pictures or cookies made by your children—even take the little ones with you—and make it a time to remember.
- Difficult for Grandpa and Grandma to celebrate at your house this year? Take the party to them. A lot of senior residences rent rooms for family activities. You can order meals or bring your own dishes along with some decorations and voilà. All you need to spend some quality family time.
- Contact the organization Little Brothers – The Extended Family for Lonely Elders
Introduce newcomers or refugees to festive traditions
- Introduce newcomers or refugees to festive traditions by inviting them for a meal or to discover a winter activity with you. You’ll help them get integrated into their new community and meet new people, and it’s a fun way to discover the local culture. You could go skating or tobogganing, visit a Christmas market or just stroll the streets and admire the lights and decorations. And if you have extra winter clothes, how about donating them?
- Some foreign university students can’t go back home for the holidays, so why not invite one to celebrate with you or to join you for some outdoor winter fun. You may even make a new friend!
Here are some ideas for where to start :
- Cari St-Laurent – Centre d’accueil et de référence sociale et économique pour immigrants à Montréal [Social and economic referral and reception centre for immigrants in Montreal]
- « Groupe d’action pour les réfugiés syriens » [Action group for Syrian refugees] on Facebook or fill this form
- YMCA providing housing for newcomers
- Centre multiethnique de Québec [Quebec multiethnic centre]
- Sherbrooke - Bénévolat au Service d’aide aux Néo-Canadiens [New Canadians support service]
- Canadian Council for Refugees (Members Organizations)
Give a few hours of your time to support a cause that means a lot to you. Many neighbourhood organizations need volunteers at this busy time of year. Here are a few suggestions :
- Opération Nez Rouge (multiple regions)
- Opération Père-Noël (multiple regions)
- Centre d’action bénévole de Montréal
- Centre d’action bénévole de Québec
- Centraide Grand Montréal
- Centraide Québec et Chaudière-Appalaches
- Mauricie - Le Noël du Pauvre
- Réseau de l’action bénévole du Québec
Look out for special activities organized in your neighbourhood. It’s a great way to connect with your community, and above all, relieve loneliness and warm some hearts!