Make Your Volunteering Count This Holiday Season

Invest your time in charities that function ethically in your area

(flickr/kris krüg)

The months leading up to Christmas tend to put many folks in a charitable mood. Many enjoy helping the less fortunate, whether by making contributions to toy and food banks or doing hands-on work in their community. It feels good to give, and it can be a source of personal pride and fulfillment to volunteer.

However, it’s important to be cautious about which organizations you choose to spend your time volunteering for. One charity in particular, the WE Movement, allegedly has problematic values when it comes to how it does business.

According to Canadaland, “Craig Kielburger founded WE when he was 12 to fight child labour. Now, the WE brand is used to promote products made by children.” The article also cited a report by journalist Jaren Kerr, who conducted a four-month investigation of the organization. After it was published, however, WE sent Canadaland a notice of libel formally asking for an apology and a full retraction.

Another problematic charity to look out for is The Salvation Army, which has campaigned openly against LGBTQ+ rights for years.

“Supporting the Salvation Army this season, whether by tossing your change in their red kettles or donating your used goods to their resale shops, means assisting an aggressively anti-gay church in furthering its goals of discrimination,” writes Zinnia Jones, a contributor for Huffpost. “Doing the most good might mean supporting one of the many other effective and reputable charities that provide for the needy without engaging in anti-gay beliefs, policies, or political activities.”

The Metro Vancouver area has many unmet needs that students are able to fulfill by donating their time. Volunteering at a women’s relief shelter is one great option to consider.

It can be emotionally draining work, but local shelters welcome women who need assistance as soon as possible. The next training session for volunteers interested in volunteering at the transition house or crisis line for the Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Centre is Dec. 6 at 6:30 pm.

Be a Santa to a Senior is another wholesome cause. It provides seniors who might not otherwise receive presents this holiday season with gifts to open on Christmas morning. The organization is looking for volunteers to collect donations, wrap gifts, and deliver them to seniors across the lower mainland.

AIDS Vancouver is holding its annual grocery event, which helps more than 700 people with food security issues, on Dec. 13. There main event taking place from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in the downtown eastside. Volunteers can also contribute by helping to set up on Dec. 9 and 12.

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank is looking for outgoing and energetic volunteers to sort food, handle cash and many other fantastic deeds as well. To get started, you can fill out the volunteer form, available on their website.

There are countless non-profits in the Vancouver area that could use your help this season. Don’t shy away from donating some of your time and energy to a good cause. Get into the Holiday spirit and fill your heart with warm fuzzies. Just be aware of which organization you choose to support, and what those organizations choose to support in turn.

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