Charitable gifts a great holiday choice

Local organizations welcome help

The holidays are a time when many struggle to come up with gifts for people who seems to have everything. And in our consumer based society, that could aptly describe anyone.  But a growing trend in gift giving allows people to gift their loved ones with something that won’t clutter the home, but can still leave a warm fuzzy feeling. Charitable giving is a trend whose time has come. The idea is to donate to an organization that may be close to someone’s heart, whether it be symbolically adopting a baby polar bear in the recipient’s name, or purchasing mosquito nets to help prevent malaria in Africa. The giver then lets the recipient know the action was taken in their name. There’s nothing to return, or re-gift, and no well intended but unused items will clutter the closet for the next few years.

Local effort

And while giving to worthy causes around the globe feels great, many people like the idea of helping at home. Pierre Cyr, the new president of the board for the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence, VSPCR, which has to raise $1.4 million a year to fund the home’s end-of-life-care mandate for people living in the 23 Vaudreuil-Soulanges towns or their relatives, said they are holding a holiday gift giving campaign now. “We rely on the generosity of the population. People can make in memoriam donations, or they can just donate to the residence,” he said. The easiest way is by going online. And a VSPCR volunteer will call to thank the donor. Funds raised go toward covering the home’s $2.3 annual operating budget, which is only funded up to 40-percent by the government. “We’re open 24-hours a day, seven days a week and we offer very specialized medical care so we have to fund that,” Cyr noted. To donate to the VSPCR go to www.mspvs.org or call 450-202-2202.

Kathryn Stephens, a Vaudreuil resident who’s in charge of the development and public relations department at Montreal’s Welcome Hall Mission, said the homeless shelter has just launched a gift giving program that will run until Dec. 22.. “Our ask is based around the price of a meal – for $3.49 you can feed a hungry or homeless Montrealer,” she noted. Stephens said the organization will also distribute Christmas baskets in the coming weeks that will help close to 6,000 people. “Each basket is worth approximately $160,” she said, adding, “when we receive cash donations we have the buying power to get items at lower prices than a person could purchase at retail so the money goes farther.” WHM offers individual specialized services for men, women, children and youths. It runs a dental clinic for the homeless, a food bank and offers transitional housing for those trying to get back on their feet. To donate, go to www.welcomehallmission.com, or call 514 523-5288.

Other local organizations that rely heavily on donations include the following: Le Centre d’action bénévole L’Actuel is a Vaudreuil-Dorion based non-profit volunteer centre that has been serving the region’s most vulnerable for more than 30 years. L’Actuel has a network of recourses and can bring together volunteers, businesses and community groups to help people in need of emergency support, loss of autonomy, isolation, and more. The centre relies on profits from its large thrift store, located at 88 rue Adèle in Vaudreuil-Dorion, as well as on cash donations and ongoing annual fundraisers. To donate call 450 455-3331, or go to www.lactuel.org.

Le Pont Bridging Food bank has been helping families in the region since 1996, when Carol Laws started the food bank after a local father lost his job and Laws realized there was no safety net for people who’d fallen on hard times while waiting for government aid to fill in. Le Pont Bridging accepts online donations at www.lepontbridging.org, by mail, or through a food drop-off point at the IGA store in Hudson. To arrange a cash donation call 450 458-5318.

l’Hébergement La Passerelle Women’s Shelter is a safe place for women and children fleeing domestic violence. Those at the home often leave with just the clothes on their backs, thus cash donations, or donations of gifts for children and woman during the holidays, toiletries for women or other goods that can help a woman get back on her feet, are always needed by the non-profit. To arrange a donation call them at 450 424-6010.

The Dorion Dream Centre, a food bank that was started by a Dorion paster and his wife. Their mission is to provide a “leaning shoulder to those who are going through a time of crisis and pain.” To learn more go to their Facebook page at Dorion Dream Centre.

Le Nichoir (www.lenichoir.org) a Hudson wild bird conservation centre that has been serving the region for the past 20 years and which needs to raise money each year to continue its important work.

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