Giving Is the Gift
Canada ranks 10th on the Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index when it comes to charitable giving. Let that altruism shine this holiday season with the following gift and giving ideas.
The 2015 Hudson’s Bay charity bear, Tolmie, has provenance. He’s named after HBC Chief Factor and groundbreaking scientist, Dr. William Tolmie, who was credited with developing the first scientific agricultural operation in the Pacific Northwest more than a century ago. All net proceeds benefit the HBC Foundation, which supports charities across Canada. $22, Hudson’s Bay, www.thebay.com
Darcy, wearing only his best Christmas sweater, is ready for under the tree. His sales help you help support healthy development of Canadian youth through the Sears Canada Foundation that receives 100 per cent of the profits. $10, Sears, www.sears.ca
Ikea’s Soft Toys for Education campaign is in its 14th and final year, having raised €77 million to date. This year, the company ran a global drawing competition with children submitting their dream soft toy designs and the 10 winning entries, pictured here, were produced for sale. From $5, Ikea, www.ikea.ca
If you’re looking for a unique plush, personalize one at Build-a-Bear Workshops across Canada. The Star Wars collection is perfect for devoted fans big and small. Pop a purple heart into their or your own – we won’t judge – new stuffed companion, and $1 goes to the Build-a-Bear Workshop Foundation, which supports programs for Canadian children, families and animals. www.buildabear.ca
Whether it’s a plush for the little ones or a present for your holiday host or hostess, the Shop for Hope collection offers gifts that give back with net proceeds going to help women’s shelters and community violence programs across Canada through the Canadian Women’s Foundation (www.canadianwomen.org). From $6, Winners and HomeSense
Keep their kisser mistletoe-worthy with Fresh Suga(Red) lip treatment and help support the fight against AIDS in Africa. Fresh got on board this year with Bono’s Red campaign (www.red.org), and 25 per cent of each sale of its famed sugar balm will go to the U.S. Fund for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (www.theglobalfund.org). $26, available in December at Sephora and www.sephora.ca
The giving might not be direct, but picking handcrafted presents from Ten Thousand Villages means supporting fair-trade products with a no-child-labour commitment whereby producers are compensated fairly. Find everything from spices to slippers in stores or online. www.tenthousandvillages.ca
Sometimes all it takes is a little. Kiva is a non-profit that connects people through lending to help alleviate poverty. Simply join a lending team and contribute what you can, from unforeseen repairs to small business development, you’ll be helping those in need around the world. More than 98 per cent of the loans are repaid – lending a hand indeed. www.kiva.org
UNICEF Canada’s Survival Gift campaign lets you make a donation on your or someone else’s behalf for life-saving items (from $12) such as water purification tablets and vaccines to venerable children around the world. Purchase a qualifying gift (from $120) and receive a UNICEF 360 viewer in the mail to watch the organization’s new virtual reality documentary series. It brings donors screen-to-face with recipients in places like Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp for displaced Syrians. www.unicef.ca
For those for whom charity begins at home, CanadaHelps connects donors online with more than 80,000 registered charities including local campaigns that you can search by province or city and/or category – from animals to social services. You can also have family and friends support your favourite charities with a Cause Wish List or purchase Charity Gift Cards for the benevolent on your list to support the cause of their choice. www.canadahelps.org
#WelcomeRefugees Canada has begun to welcome some of the 25,000 Syrian refugees who will resettle in communities across the country. If you’re looking for ways to help, the Canadian Red Cross has begun a campaign to aid its resettlement support services. And Canadian Immigration and Citizenship has created a special portal to help connect donors and volunteers with local settlement organizations and sponsorship agencies.
Plus, make an eligible donation to registered Canadian charities such as Oxfam Canada before Dec. 31, and the Government of Canada will match it as a part the Syrian Emergency Relief Fund for international relief efforts.