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There’s more to it than presents

THE HOLIDAYS ARE a time when giving to others can be equally as joyous as receiving. Who doesn’t excitedly anticipate the smile on a loved one’s face as they tear apart gift-wrapping paper? Being charitable and generous toward family and friends is perhaps the best part of the holiday season, but it is important to remember to extend that generosity to the community at large.

There are many ways you can lend your hand to those in need in our city this December. Why not consider gifting friends and family this year by making a donation in their name? Or give yourself the gift of making a real difference by donating your time to one of Ottawa’s many deserving charities. The following are some of the many ways you can give back this year.

Shepherds of Good Hope

Their Buy a Gift, Change a Life program allows you to feed a family of four for a day for just $7.47. Visit Shepherdsofgoodhope.com for more information.

The Salvation Army’s Christmas Exchange 

The Christmas Exchange program is in need of monetary donations to purchase food and toys. What better way to make a difference than to feed a hungry person or paint a smile on a child’s face? Call (613) 226-6434 to make a donation.

The Ottawa Food Bank

Feed a family by donating your time, money, or nutritious food to the Ottawa Food Bank. You can also make a donation in someone else’s name, which would be a great gift for the holiday season. Visit Ottawafoodbank.ca or call (613) 745-7001 to make a donation.

Emily Murphy Non-profit Housing Corporation

Volunteer through buying Christmas dinner for a single mom this Christmas. Many single moms and their children are living below the poverty line. You can help out a family by giving them a gift card to a local grocery store. Call (613) 834-9550 for more information.

Operation Red Nose

Help keep someone out of danger this December by donating your time and driving abilities. Operation Red Nose is dedicated to putting an end to impaired driving. You can register online at Operationrednoseottawa.com or call (613) 232-0925.

Christmas Hamper Project

Volunteer your time by packing a hamper full of goodies and delivering it to a deserving family. Call (613) 234-6084 for more information.

Ottawa-Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities

You can purchase gift cards, movie passes, or small gifts to make an individual with a developmental disability happy this holiday season. Call (613) 569-8993 ext. 245 to make a donation.

Bruce House 

Simple kind words can make such a big difference. Uplift the spirits of those living with AIDS by sending a handwritten card with well wishes to Bruce House. Call (613) 729-0911 or visit Brucehouse.org for more information.

—Tamara Tarchichi