CC: Chuck Kennedy
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So, we’re in the final stretch of 2015 and Christmas is right around the corner. No doubt everybody is looking forward to finishing finals and getting home to enjoy a well-deserved break. But, before you do, here are a few great ways YOU can have a positive impact on the community here in Ottawa and help others who aren’t as fortunate this holiday season.

Offer your time

There are so many places in need of volunteers, and many of these charities would be extremely grateful for an extra pair of hands—especially during this busy season. For example, if you’re passionate about animals, why not make some furry friends at the Ottawa Humane Society or Ottawa Dog Rescue?

Provide someone with a hot meal

The Ottawa Mission is holding its annual Christmas dinner on Dec. 20 this year. The dinner is free to anyone who is homeless, hungry, or alone and in need of a holiday meal.

Although all of the volunteering opportunities have been filled for this event, there are still ways you can help. A small donation of $2.97 is all it takes to provide a person in need with a hot meal for Christmas.

Visit local seniors

A very rewarding and worthwhile way to give back would simply be to pay a visit to your local senior centre in Ottawa. Sometimes all it takes is a simple “hello” or a brief chat to brighten up someone’s day. You can also play cards or run an art class, or bring your pets in for a visit (but be sure to check first).

If this sounds interesting to you, be sure to check out the Abbotsford Senior Centre on Bank or The Good Companion Senior Centre on Albert, as these retirement homes are probably the most accessible for University of Ottawa students.

Donate used belongings

Giving away your old clothes and toys is another worthwhile charitable enterprise this time of year. There are several charities taking on donations of this kind over the holidays especially. Slippers, bath robes, toys, mittens, hats, and scarves are all very welcome as gifts for children and adults alike.

Check out the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa website for a rundown of the toys and gifts that these charities usually accept.

Give to food banks

Food banks across Ottawa are especially in need over the holiday season. You can help them out by donating non-perishable, nutritious food items such as canned meats, canned vegetables, cereal and rice to one of over 30 drop-off locations located around Ottawa. Check out the website for the Ottawa Foodbank for more details.