10 places to give in Toronto this holiday

10 places to give in Toronto

This is a guest post written by local Toronto mom and wonderful person, Rebecca Lee.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need anything this holiday season. Sure, I’d appreciate a new duvet cover and I wouldn’t say no to a fancy mixer, but I don’t need these things. My kid has a list of things she would like for Christmas and as the only grandchild to both sets of grandparents, she’s bound to get most of what’s on her list, even as I protest that she’s not in need of anything.

My cupboards and fridge are full. I’m able to pay the rent each month and put gas in the car that gets us to work and school. I’ve never run out of tampons or diapers. I’ve never had to throw out anything I own because it was infested with bugs.

I am so lucky. I am so very lucky.

As someone who worked in the non-profit sector for almost 15 years, I know of people who cannot say the same. Around this time last year I helped a young mother sort through donated clothing to find sleepers that would fit her newborn. It’s not that she didn’t have sleepers for her baby; it’s that she didn’t have the money to wash the sleepers in the laundry basket.

Around this time of year, as we become inundated with commercials, I like to take some time to consider those people who wouldn’t receive a holiday gift if it weren’t for the work of an agency or organization. These agencies and organizations rely on donors, especially at this time a year, to bring joy to those who aren’t as lucky as some of us. Rather than give cash, there are a number of ways to donate that can help you – and your kids – think about the wish lists and needs of others.

1. The Shoebox Project distributes shoeboxes filled with items to women living in, or accessing, shelters and similar agencies. It’s as simple as finding a shoebox in your recycling bin and filling it with appropriately $50 of items. Some suggestions include TTC tokens, toiletries, and nut-free candies. To their list, I would also suggest a gift card to a juice or smoothie cafe (fresh vegetables and fruit are not often on the menu at shelters), and a pair of flip flops that can be used as shower shoes. The Shoebox Project happens across Canada and there is a likely a drop-off location close to you. [Read more...]

“Step on the scale, Mom,” he said.

Step on the scale, Mom!

My thighs are killing me. So is my ass. And also the sole of my foot because I stepped on a stray game board-game piece, but that’s a different story.

You see, I knew I’d slipped up. The regular exercise routine I had last winter and early spring had been knocked off course by a lingering chest cold and I never really did catch my stride again after that. It was hard to find a regular time to go out for a run over the summer and this school year isn’t much better. And, on top of not exercising, I’d fallen into the habit of enjoying one or two drinks and snacking in front of the TV in the evenings.

I’d put on weight. I knew I had. I was just hoping it wasn’t that much. (My bathroom scale was hiding out in the basement so I could enjoy my trip to denial.) But then, on Thanksgiving weekend, I had a wake up call.

Now, I’m going to name numbers here because the story calls for it. Remember that what seems like a huge number for me, might be fairly healthy for somebody else. At 5′ 6″, I’m of average height, but I have a fairly slight bone structure. I was a healthy (albeit slim) 125 lbs when I got married. And when I do put on weight, there’s really nowhere for me to hide it. (This is one of the reasons people were always convinced my seven-pound babies were actually going to be ten-pound twins.)

[Read more...]