January 2024 EYP Article

December 14, 2023

A Season of Giving 

By: Sofia N, a volunteer with the Edgemont Youth Press

Presents. Cookies. Decorated trees. All words and ideas that excite us for the most awaited holiday of the year. And yes, it’s true. The holiday season provides the opportunity for everyone, big or small, to create that wish list of all their favourite games, toys, and books. It certainly is something to look forward to and celebrate.

Yet, today, we are living through a time where there are more people than ever before who are in need. Individuals facing housing crises, those who have had to escape abuse, and families who have fled their homes from across the world due to instability & conflict. As a community, we can use this holiday season as an opportunity to reach out and offer a helping hand in any way we can to those less fortunate than ourselves. The holidays are not merely a time for receiving, but also a time for giving back to the broader community around us, whether it be through the dedication of our resources, our time, or our knowledge.

For instance, any donations, big or small, can make a substantial difference in the lives of one individual or family. Donating items to toy drives, food drives and other non-profit organizations are all ways in which we can help advance the quality of life of those around us. In Canada, in the year 2017 alone, over 1.7 million people were assisted by the Salvation Army, with 269,000 of these individuals being helped specifically during the holiday season through food hampers and toys.

Additionally, donations are not the only way in which you can help give back to the community. Growing up, my family also taught me that, ‘no matter how little you have, there will always be somebody who has less’ – we can help the people around us in more ways than one. Today, there are so many opportunities to volunteer your time for causes that you are passionate about. Animal shelters, tutoring services, and even virtual volunteer opportunities are more accessible than ever before. These are all ways in which we can positively contribute to the society around us and enrich our communities.

At the end of the day, the holiday season is a time to celebrate for innumerable reasons. It’s a time for gatherings and amazing meals, but it also provides us with an opportunity to reflect on how grateful we are to be living in a country and community where we have the rights and freedoms that we do, and offer a helping hand to those less fortunate. Not only is this a wonderful act of selflessness, but helping those around you provides a sense of personal fulfillment unparalleled to anything else. What may seem like a small and insignificant contribution on your part can truly change the life of any given individual. Thus, let us use the time that is remaining of this holiday season, and the months beyond as we begin a new year, to play our role in making the world around us a better place for all, in any way that we can.