Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but even more so for families with children who are deep into the Christmas Spirit. For many parents though, this time of year brings heartache, guilt, and dread due to lack of funds. We all know that Christmas is not about the gifts, but a little holiday joy can sure go a long way. If you are one of those parents who are struggling, now is the time to reach out and get help.
Toys for Tots is a volunteer-run program that donates toys to parents who cannot afford to buy them for their children 0-14 years old. Low income families must register through a social service agency. Agencies include, but are not limited to:
Addiction Services Thames Valley
Atlohsa Native Family Healing Services and Zhaawanong Shelter
Boys and Girls Club of London
Carrefour des Femmes du Sud-Ouest de l’Ontario
Children’s Aid Society
Clarke Road Shelter
Community Living London
Crouch Neighbourhood Resource Centre
Glen Cairn Community Resource Centre
Hutton House Learning Centre
Keeping Kids Warm
London Abused Women’s Centre
Merrymount Children’s Centre
Mutual Aid Parenting Program
N’Amerind Friendship Centre
Oneida Nation Headstart Program
Pathways Skill Development and Placement Centre
Single Women in Motherhood
South London Neighbourhood Resource Centre
Teen Challenge Farm
Thames Valley Children’s Centre
Women’s Community House
WOTCH Community Mental Health Services
Vanier Children’s Services
The Salvation Army collects toys through their seasonal Angel Tree’s and provides families in need with a Christmas hamper filled with food for a traditional Christmas meal and a gift for each child. For more information, please see their website or contact the local office.
If your children are of school age, you may be able to receive help from other families within your board. Teachers and principals will often put forward names or information about families in need in their school which will be supported anonymously by different groups. Please contact someone in your child’s school that you are comfortable sharing with.
Many churches and parishes in London provide Christmas hampers or gifts to families in their parish or area. Some may be limited to parishioners only, some will be open to anyone living within the area. Parish staff may also be able to refer you to other places that can help you at this time.
Do not be afraid to ask for help and do not wait. Most people fall into a position of needing help through events that are out of their control and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Services are there for you.