Does it feel more difficult each year to come up with gift ideas for your friends and family who, honestly, have what they need? Last night I was going over my list – checking it twice, if you will – trying to dream up items to give people I know don’t want for anything. I was stretching, going beyond ‘need’ and into ‘what could I give them that they wouldn’t otherwise treat themselves to?’ and still feeling stumped. It felt like a strange exercise when I could easily rattle off the very basic human needs that aren’t being met for countless others in my current city and across Canada.
Maybe you’re in the same boat as me: stuck for creative, generous ways to show that you love and appreciate somebody. Maybe you want to honour your loved ones by supporting someone in the community who truly needs it.
To help you (and me) with this, I asked my Facebook friends for suggestions of Canadian organizations that support women and women’s causes. Here are some they came up with.
8 Canadian Organizations That Support Women:
- Surrey Women’s Centre
Surrey Women’s Centre is a crisis centre for women and girls escaping domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence. It is a safe place for women and girls to turn to, 24/7, and is the only centre of its kind in Surrey, B.C. In addition to the crisis line, they offer support in court and weekly accompaniment to a family law clinic, as well as individual and group counselling. As a resource centre, they provide a housing and income clinic, free clothing exchange and a community kitchen.
You can gift these women with continued program support by donating here.
I also encourage you to read their stories – because our stories connect us to each other.
2. Pacific Post Partum Support Society
Approximately 1 out of 6 women, and 1 out of 10 men, experiences postpartum depression and anxiety after welcoming a baby into the family whether by birth or adoption. Pacific Post Partum Support Society has been around since 1971 helping mothers and their families who are experiencing the symptoms of post partum distress. And their treatment model? Mothers helping mothers. There are a variety of free or low-cost programs available that are individual and specific to each mom’s needs. Today their support reaches 3500 women and their families each year.
There are several ways to help – from cash donations to volunteering on the fundraising committee or becoming a member of the society. A creative idea might be to forego a gift exchange between you and your best friend, and instead commit to volunteering together. A joint project could be a more meaningful way to connect throughout the year.
3. Canadian Women’s Foundation
Canadian Women’s Foundation is a comprehensive organization whose mission is to invest in the strength of women and the dreams of girls. They raise money to end violence against women, remove them from situations of poverty, and build resilient girls. Their approach is to assist women and girls with the greatest need with a priority being First Nations, Metis and Inuit women and girls. Every year over 30,000 women and girls benefit directly from their programs which is just one of the reasons they list to consider supporting one of the top ten women’s foundations in the world.
One of the founding mothers of Canadian Women’s Foundation, Rosemary Brown, the first black woman elected to provincial office in Canada said, “Until all of us have made it, none of us have made it.” If you agree, please consider giving in one of these ways.
Mom2Mom is a community-based organization to improve developmental outcomes of children living in Vancouver’s inner city. It really is a support group for women to help them parent in the best way possible, with resources, compassion and women-centred mentorship and support. They understand that when families are stressed due to basic needs not being met, children are at risk of not thriving. Vancouver is a wealthy city but Mom2Mom knows that there are many women, children and families who fall through the social cracks.
There are many ways to support Mom2Mom including some fulfilling volunteer opportunities and through monetary donations. Learn about the ways to give here.
5. 1UP Victoria’s Single Parent Resource Centre
Since 1978, 1UP has served Greater Victoria’s single parent families with a wide selection of programs and free services to create stronger, healthier families. They provide counselling, mentorship, practical support (free clothing room, bread pantry, free toy and book room, and more). 1UP also holds an annual back-to-school drive and has a Christmas hamper program you can be part of.
Again, there are many different ways to give. You can find a way to partner with them in honour of a loved one this Christmas.
6. YWCA Metro Vancouver
Did you know that YWCA Metro Vancouver has been around since 1897? And their greatest vision is to help women achieve equality through advocacy and services that foster economic independence, wellness and opportunities. They have incredible resources for women facing violence, poverty, single parenthood, sexualization and more. And they are true champions of women as shown through their Women of Distinction awards – their annual fundraiser that honours extraordinary women leaders.
Here are some ideas for getting involved, not just at Christmas but all year ’round.
7. Ovarian Cancer Canada
The only Canadian registered charity dedicated to overcoming ovarian cancer, they support women and their families living with ovarian cancer, raise awareness among the general public and health care professionals, and fund research. Their research focuses on early detection, treatment and ultimately, a cure.
Here are some video stories of women living with ovarian cancer – they talk about diagnosis through treatment and the impact this disease has on their lives.
Be inspired by these generous ways to give of your time and money.
8. Ikwe Widdjiitiwin (Women Helping Women) Aboriginal Crisis Shelter
A crisis centre for aboriginal women in Winnipeg, Manitoba offers culturally appropriate services for women escaping domestic and sexual violence and has been around since 1984. Their programs include a crisis line, residential services, children’s program, interim housing program, followup services and outreach services. They are able to provide help in native languages and serve with integrity and compassion holistically, keeping in mind a woman’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs.
To donate to this registered charity, please visit here.
I hope this gives you some unique gift ideas to check off your list and leave a lasting impact.