Three volunteers wearing masks stand behind a table decorated with a festive table cloth.

It’s beginning to look a little more like Christmas at Mission Services…at least more like the holiday season we remember from before COVID-19.

Last year we had to adapt and limit many of our celebrations to ensure the safety of our residents, neighbours, and staff. This year though, we’re hoping we can gather a little more (with proper distancing) and enjoy the season together.

We always aim to provide our community members with comfort and support, as we know the holidays can be an extremely difficult time of year for many
people.

Our Good Food Centre has been registering clients for the Christmas Care Program and we will be remaining open during the entire month of December for community members who may need additional emergency food assistance. “We’re looking to hand out toys and feed as many people as possible,” said Good Food Centre Manager, Jim.

Last year, The 196 Program was only able to do porch drop-offs of gifts, holiday activities and crafts for its families at home. This year they are excited to be holding a winter camp and look forward to enjoying their annual holiday dinner once again.

The youth were extremely happy to return to The 196 space this summer and fall, and families have praised the difference it has made in their children as well. “My daughter has loved being a part of the program. We are so grateful for the part you all have had in her growth. I’m so appreciative,” shared one mother.

Willow’s Place will also be having a Christmas dinner and will provide each participant with a small gift. We’ll also be offering seasonal activities and crafts leading up to the holidays to allow individuals accessing the hub the opportunity to gather.

Men’s Services will also host a dinner and ensure each resident staying with us receives a small gift. Addiction Services will continue to support clients through their addiction and recovery journeys.

“At Inasmuch House, we’re looking forward to having a more community feel, where families are less isolated, with holiday meals and a communal tree where every December holiday will be included,” explained Jennifer, Manager of Residential Programming. Last year, families had to be kept apart for safety reasons but this year families will be able to celebrate together.

If we’ve learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that things can change in an instant, so we will be prepared to adapt our plans as necessary. For now though, our staff and clients are looking forward to celebrating a little more “normal” and being a little less alone.

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