We help you choose your charity this season.
Whether you’re shopping for the person who has everything or trying to find a gift guaranteed to spread good cheer, making a donation to charity in a friend or family member’s name is the perfect choice. Regardless of the size of your intended gift, do your research and find a cause you can really get behind.
A list of the more than 85,000 charitable organizations registered with the Canada Revenue Agency, as well as background information on each one, is available at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/charities. In case the CRA’s list has you feeling a bit overwhelmed, we’ve compiled a list of some great options for holiday giving. Far from exhaustive, our list is meant to provide a snapshot of the types of gifts available from each charity. Complete catalogues are available on the organizations respective websites.
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada
The CCFC offers a range of gifts similar to those available through World Vision and Unicef. We liked the idea of giving a vegetable garden seed kit ($15), a share in a clean water well ($125), five chickens ($50) or a bike to help a child get to school ($170), but check out the full range of options at www.ccfcanada.ca and decide for yourself.
Operation Eyesight Universal
Founded in Calgary in 1963, Operation Eyesight Universal allows you to give the life-changing gift of sight in your loved one’s name. Their gift guide has 14 different gift ideas to choose from. They include cataract surgery for one person ($30); supplying eyeglasses to three children with low vision ($20); and funding the training of a local vision technician ($300). A full list is available at www.operationeyesight.ca.
SickKids Get Better Gifts start at $10 (for arts and crafts supplies) and offer a great selection of individual and package gifts, including big-ticket items like a child-size wheelchair ($5,000). Standout items include: a treasure trove of toys for kids at various stages of treatment ($75); books for the hospital reading room ($20); and special car seats for parents bringing their kids home from the hospital ($120). A full list of SickKids Get Better Gifts is available at www.sickkidsgetbettergifts.com.
TD Friends of the Environment Foundation
If you’ve got an eco-minded amigo on your list, check out the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (www.fef.td.com). They offer an e-gift option and 100 per cent of every dollar donated to TD FEF goes towards funding more than 19,000 grassroots environmental and wildlife projects in communities across Canada.
Ten Thousand Villages
In addition to charitable organizations, consider fair trade retailers. If you buy a present from Ten Thousand Villages (products range from spices and grains to crafts and clothes), you can be confident its producer has been fairly compensated, no middlemen or child labour has been involved in the process and female producers have been treated equitably. Learn more at www.tenthousandvillages.ca.
Unicef’s cards, gifts and “Gifts of Magic” are available at www.shopunicef.ca and range in price from $10 to group-giving gifts of more than $1,000. New items for this year include: a water pump repair kit ($40), tetanus vaccines ($40), a mother-baby pack (which, for $94, provides all the antiretroviral drugs and antibiotics needed to protect the health of one HIV-positive mother and her baby) and a midwifery kit (which supplies an entire maternity ward with basic drugs, renewable medical supplies, medical equipment and basic sterilization and resuscitation equipment for a donation of $1,769).
World Vision Canada
World Vision has a variety of options for charitable giving. Their catalogue, available at www.worldvision.ca, is broken down into helpful categories that make it easy to find the best gift for your chosen recipient. Why not help an Afghan farmer by providing a profitable alternative to illegal poppy cultivation ($40)? How about donating school supplies for an entire classroom in need ($50) or looking within our borders and feeding a hungry Canadian family ($30)?
WWF Canada’s Adoption Program lets you symbolically adopt a threatened species. Funds from the adoptions are used to support WWF’s conservation efforts across Canada and fight major threats such as climate change and animal poaching. Canadian animals available for adoption include: caribou, polar bear, grizzly bear, Arctic fox, monarch butterfly, Atlantic cod, northern leopard frog, common loon, blue shark and the black-footed ferret. The adoption kits are $40 (for a single animal) and come with a stuffed animal, a report detailing WWF Canada’s work you will be supporting, a personalized adoption certificate, a $30 tax receipt, a letter identifying you as the gift-giver if you adopted the animal for someone else and a re-useable gift bag. A complete list of animals is available at wwf.ca.
Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of Canada
[Note: this is a for-profit association not listed on the CRA site]
MFPAC offers a collection of products featuring the work of artists who are deprived of the use of their hands by illness, injury or birth defect, and who paint with brushes held in their mouths or with their feet. Purchasing the gifts allows them to continue to practise their craft. Go to www.mfpacanada.com for more information.