The holiday season isn’t always the most wonderful time of the year. It can be lonely for some, intertwined with feelings of sadness for those struggling with loss, financial concerns, hunger, unemployment and other hardships, both big and small.
At Alberta Blue Cross®, we believe even the smallest contribution to our communities—especially during the most difficult times—can make a huge impact in someone’s life.
There are many ways you, too, can make a difference, if you’re able to do so. To help, we’ve created a list of local charities you can donate to or volunteer with to help brighten spirits this holiday season.
Holiday themed charities
The 630 CHED Santas Anonymous mission is simple: to ensure every child receive a new toy at Christmas. Relying on thousands of volunteers and donors, 630 CHED Santas Anonymous now collects, sorts, packages and delivers toys to more than 20,000 children every year.
The Christmas Bureau provides a festive meal and coordinates Christmas giving to Edmontonians in need at Christmastime. This support is non-denominational and accessible to all Edmontonians in need, connecting more than 90 social service agencies providing those in need a one-stop application process for Christmas services.
The Holiday Hamper Program makes a difference in the lives of Edmonton families in need. You can adopt a local family, then shop for a healthy festive meal and small gifts for the kids.
Stocking Stuffers for Seniors is supported by London Drug locations across Western Canada. This program partners with local care homes and charities with a mission to bring more holiday cheer to seniors.
Addiction and recovery
Alcove Recovery provides long-term residential recovery treatment programs for women who are experiencing co-occurring issues including addiction, mental health distress and a history of abuse. Alcove is the only recovery residence in Calgary that allows mothers and children to remain together during the recovery process in a home-like setting.
Our House Addiction Recovery Centre (Edmonton)
Our House Addiction Recovery Centre offers a one-year residential addiction recovery program to men (18+) through shared accommodations of our 30-room facility. During this year, trained professionals guide residents through modules designed to equip them with the tools for long-term recovery. Dedicated to reducing the effects of substance use disorders and related mental health issues, Our House Addiction Recovery Centre provide services unlike any other in Alberta, and is one of the few year-long residential treatment programs in Canada.
Edmonton Meals on Wheels is a local non-profit and registered charitable organization that provides home-delivered meal and food services to a diverse mix of people. They are known for their quality customer service, excellent meals and creative and innovative strategies that engage the community in various events, partnerships and volunteer opportunities.
Both the Calgary and Edmonton food banks are committed to fighting hunger and its root causes. They are the first line of emergency food support for families and individuals relying solely on the generous support of the community.
Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre has been a community hub for children and families since 1963. Norwood responds to a wide variety of family circumstances and provides free, culturally diverse programming throughout Edmonton.
Kids Kottage is a crisis prevention and early intervention service that keeps infants and children safe, and families strong. When a family is under toxic levels of stress whether it be from job loss, homelessness, the effects of poverty, mental or physical health issues, abuse or whatever the case, the Kids Kottage is there to support them.
Fort Saskatchewan Families First Society is a charitable organization serving families through early childhood development, parenting programs and family support.
Based in Morinville Alberta, Jessie’s house brings safety and hope to vulnerable individuals and families, providing shelter, outreach and education. They are committed to raising money to build an emergency shelter so people can have a new lease on life.
Based in Calgary, Children’s Link maintains a current database of available resources, providing a one-stop site where families and professionals can explore options and connect with the services and supports best suited to their requirements.
Kids Up Front is an organization dedicated to ensuring that all kids have access to fun, enriching experiences. Through their work, they help children meet their most basic rights, so they can thrive and meet their full potential.
Cold weather and homelessness
Inn from the Cold helps vulnerable families find stability in times of crisis. They are the largest organization in the Calgary region dedicated solely to families experiencing a housing crisis and believe that a community where no child or family is homeless is possible.
An organization committed to providing a change of clothes, a shower, laundry, a place to sleep and a meal to those in need. Their mission is to help people get back on their feet and figure out what it would take to get them out of their jam.
The Mustard Seed is a non-profit organization that has been caring for individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty since 1984. Operating in five cities across Alberta and British Columbia, the Mustard Seed is a supportive haven where people can have their physical, mental and spiritual needs met and grow toward greater health and independence.
Hope Mission has grown into a not-for-profit social care agency caring for impoverished and homeless men, women and children in Alberta. Basic and emergency care are provided to more than 800 people daily as well as counsel and referral services for men, women and youth.
Boyle Street Community Services has been working in the inner city of Edmonton since 1971 to serve, support and empower people to take control of their lives and escape the cycle of poverty and homelessness.
Seniors and illness support
Pilgrims Hospice Society offers compassionate care for individuals living with a terminal illness, enhancing dignity and quality of life, until the end of life. With a whole-family approach, their programs also support caregivers and those grieving the death of a loved one.
Operation Friendship Seniors Society is a non-profit society that provides community-based preventative social services to the seniors of Edmonton’s inner city. They provide safe, affordable non-institutional housing options and services without judgement to improve the quality of life for seniors in need over 55 years of age.
The Calgary Seniors Resource Society provides social support and assist with daily living to seniors including volunteer programs that connect seniors with caring community members, who offer practical, social and emotional supports.
Mental health support
Cornerstone is one of the largest not-for-profit providers of subsidized counselling, psycho-educational workshops and psychotherapy training in the Edmonton area. They serve the entire community from children as young as 4 years old to seniors and offer fee subsidies from their Way to Wellness Fund.
The Canadian Mental Health Association Calgary builds awareness and provides education and support for individuals and families living with a mental health or substance use concern, and a loss by suicide.