Hope for Children fund

CCAS gives gift of hope at Christmas

  • December 15, 2012

TORONTO - Each Christmas Hope for Children hands out about $800,000 to young people living on their own, young parents and families.

Though they still collect some donated toys, toiletries and other gift items, the foundation backing up Catholic Children’s Aid in Toronto encourages people to think in terms of gift cards and vouchers from grocery stores, department stores and clothing stores.

“The best way to serve our families is with gift cards and vouchers,” said Hope for Children Foundation spokeswoman Donna Harris. “We’re empowering them to make decisions about what is best for them. So Mom and Dad are able to go out and purchase things they want to see under their tree.”

A gift card from a grocery store can translate into a proper Christmas dinner or a week’s worth of nutritious meals.

The money Hope for Children raises at Christmas goes for much more than Christmas presents. The foundation uses its Christmas drive to encourage donors to support four programs for Catholic Children’s Aid Society clients — scholarships for kids who age out of the system but still need an education to achieve independence; summer camp where young children in the child welfare system can just be kids; the Safe Sleep Program that makes sure babies have up-to-date and up-to-standard cribs; emergency assistance grants that are used throughout the year to lift families out of a financial crisis that can hit with something as simple as a broken pair of glasses.

“We really want to help families year round,” said Harris.

The Hope for Children Christmas drives have been going on for more than 10 years. Tapping into the seasonal urge to give has become essential for the foundation as the needs of families have deepened, said Harris.

The foundation is open to Christmas gifts right up to Christmas eve at Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto offices at 26 Maitland St., the Dufferin Mall Unit 219, 30 Drewery Ave. in the city’s north end and 1880 Birchmount Rd. out east. You can also click “Donate Now” at www.hopeforchildren.ca.

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