A Do-Gooder’s Guide for the Holiday Season
by Terri Coles

After hearing about a serious deficiency in food stocks at food banks in St. John’s, the city launched a successful door-to-door drive around the city last week that collected 111,000 pounds of food. That’s no small thing, considering that food banks across the province serve about 27,000 people each month.

But while providing food for those in need is obviously important, there are many other organizations in the city that could also use your support during the holiday season – or any other time of the year.

Newfoundlanders are known for being helpful and community minded, and we’ve got the highest volunteer rate in Canada–let’s keep that reputation strong by giving what we can in time, money, or material goods to groups in our community who are working to help everyone go into 2015 on more solid footing.

Here are seven places that could use your donations–financial and otherwise–this month.

Iris Kirby House: 

Iris Kirby House provides shelter to women and children experiencing from relationship abuse. More than 2,500 people are served by the shelter each year through emergency shelter and support services, and the services at Iris Kirby House are free to residents and former residents. The shelter takes financial donations as well as non-financial items like clothing, bedding, linens, and personal care items suitable for women and kids. Many people who have left an abusive situation have nothing but what they were wearing and could carry when they went to the Iris Kirby House, so even basic items like unopened/unused shampoo and soap can be useful.



Youth homelessness isn’t as visible in St. John’s as in some other Canadian cities, but it does exist. Thrive Community Youth Network helps to fill the gaps for local youth who lack housing, food, education, support, or safety. Thrive accepts both financial donations and donations of Shoppers Optimum Points.


Waterworks Christmas Diaper Drive: 

As sad as it is to consider, one in five mothers has had to choose between food or diapers. That’s why diaper donations are so important — they aren’t something most of us think about in our giving, but money a family doesn’t have to spend on diapers frees up funds for things like fresh produce. The Waterworks Christmas Diaper Drive is collecting diapers for families in need, and they will accept both full packages and those that have been opened as long as the remaining diapers are in good condition.


St. John’s Native Friendship Centre: 

The city’s Native Friendship Centre accepts financial donations to support its activities, which include arts and crafts for youth and books for the after-school program. Volunteers are also welcome, particularly for the centre’s Christmas Party and for National Aboriginal Day. The form is on their website.



The province’s AIDS Committee works to support people in the community living with HIV/AIDS — their services include the Tommy Sexton Emergency Shelter and health-care support. Financial donations to ACNL can be made through Canada Helps.


Association for New Canadians: 

The ANC helps newcomers to Canada living in Newfoundland and Labrador with all aspects of adjusting to life in a new country, from finding housing to learning English and figuring out how to dress for winter weather. They accept donations of gently used household objects, clothing, and toys. There are also many volunteer opportunities available.



The Single Parent Association of Newfoundland supports single parents in the province to empower them and their children. SPAN provides services like food hampers for families in need and employment support for parents. The organization accepts financial donations, as well as donations of clothing, toys, books, and housewares. SPAN is also in immediate need of volunteers for its food and clothing outlet; details are on their website or found by calling 738-3401.


There are surely dozens of other worthy organizations, both here in St. John’s and across the province, that could use your help this holiday season. Do you have any to recommend? Let us know in the comments.