A group of women wearing sweaters and Christmas paraphernalia sit at a table with a Christmas table cloth. They turn to smile at the camera.

Christmas at Mission Services has always been a busy time, filled with the hustle and bustle of staff and volunteers providing food, gifts, and more to our community. The generosity of our donors has made this possible, and has given hope to our neighbours.

This year, Christmas will look very different here due to the ongoing pandemic. Even though many things are changing, we know that the generosity of our donors will still make this Christmas special for those who access our programs.

At our Good Food Centre (GFC), families will receive food to help them get through the month, including everything they need to make their favourite holiday meal. In previous years, part of the GFC would be converted into a gift room where families could choose gifts for one another. Those spaces are currently filled with pallets of food to help address the increased food insecurity in our community.

However, families will still be able to receive gifts thanks to the Eva Rothwell Centre (ERC) allowing us to run our gift program in their gymnasium. Any family accessing the GFC in December will make an appointment to receive gifts for every family member.

For youth in The 196, staff want to ensure every member of their household are included in the celebrations. Youth and their families will be supported through our Christmas programming so they receive gifts and clothing. Staff are also planning a virtual Christmas party with games, prizes, and giveaways. Leading up to Christmas, youth will receive baking supplies so they can bake Christmas treats with their families, and parents will receive grocery gift cards to buy
ingredients to make their family’s favourite meal for the Holidays.

Residents at Inasmuch House usually participate in decorating a tree in their common living room and decorate cookies together. Because social distancing protocols mean restricting gatherings, Inasmuch staff will distribute donated miniature trees and decorations, and gingerbread houses to each of the families. Mothers will be able to enjoy Christmas traditions that we all love like choosing gifts for their kids, wrapping them, and putting them under the tree for Christmas morning thanks to donors like you. As always, each family will be able to share a special Christmas dinner together.

At Willow’s Place, staff are planning on having multiple small dinners to allow for all women to be able to participate, while ensuring social distancing. Games, prizes, and gifts will be part of their Christmas celebrations. Women will also receive gifts for their children.

We know that the holidays can be an isolating time for those in our addiction programs and even more difficult in these unusual times. Addictions Services’ staff will continue to support participants in our Suntrac, Drug Treatment Court, and SURCH programs during the Christmas season and ensure they feel connected and safe whether that is in-person or virtually.

In spite of the pandemic, staff at our emergency Men’s Shelter will ensure Men staying there feel the spirit of Christmas this year thanks to generous donors like you.

At Mission Services, staff throughout our programs want to give participants the best Christmas season possible so that, if only for a moment, they can forget the fear of the pandemic, and instead feel the joy and hope of the season.

We won’t be able to make Christmas special without YOU. We have many ambitious plans, but none of them will be possible without your generosity. You can give hope to our neighbours by hosting gift and food drives, and donating to our programs this Holiday Season and year round.

To read our full Christmas 2020 newsletter, click here.

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