The needs of the most vulnerable communities in the GTA are growing. Food bank usage and basic food and shelter security are more fragile than ever due to inflation, an increase in debt load, scarcity caused by supply chain issues, housing shortages, labour insecurity, and more. In the last year, the Scott Mission has seen an increase in demand for support—including a 47 per cent increase in demand for hot meals and 20 per cent for grocery help. An already stressful situation is compounded by also wanting to celebrate with special meals and providing joy for kids. Christmastime is a special season at the Mission. Celebrating the Scott Mission faith and the spirit of the season is at the centre of all the Mission does. Extending that celebration to the community through gatherings and services spreads holiday cheer and support when many families need it the most. That’s why the Scott Mission has a unique Christmas distribution—along with their regular grocery order from the food bank, clients receive grocery gift cards to choose food that means something special to their family and their culture, allowing them to celebrate the season in a way that speaks to them.
“We are a second home for many of our neighbours and want to celebrate with them and help them celebrate with their families,” shared Jonathan Miller, Chief Ministry Officer at the Scott Mission.
Scott Mission’s popular Christmas program includes extra help during the holiday season for 2,600 families, including toys for their children and new warm winter coats—granting families both what is needed to survive harsh winters and some holiday cheer and joy during a special time of year. These programs make all the difference for families like Gisella’s. Gisella is a mother of eight and has come to the Scott Mission for groceries and toys for her kids for years.
Gisella shared that she was nervous when she first came to Scott Mission but was pleasantly surprised to find that everyone she spoke to treated her with dignity and respect. “I don’t have too much money,” she said. “When I come in, they give me clothes. Last Christmas day, when I gave my kids the toys, they were so happy. They’re all that I have.”
On top of toys and groceries, the Scott Mission also helped Gisella get winter coats for her and her children. Canada is known for harsh winters, and sturdy coats can be expensive. Gisella explained that receiving a jacket voucher made a big difference for her family.
“The Mission helps me a lot. It’s cold out and these are in good condition. [Winter clothing] is so expensive now, this will help my family,” Gisella wrote. “Thanks to God and all who make all this possible.”
Communities prosper when families have access to the tools and infrastructure needed to build a better life. Each of us has the power to change lives and address the problem of poverty. When we donate to organizations like the Scott Mission, we rebalance the scales of dignity and open the door for someone looking for help, care, and compassion. We ignite the spark of hope for a brighter future, and that spark lights a fire.
With the help of compassionate neighbours, the Scott Mission works to see lives transformed and poverty left behind. When neighbours help neighbours, everyone sees the benefit.
ABOUT SCOTT MISSION
Scott Mission has been responding to the needs of the vulnerable, homeless, abandoned, and disadvantaged of all ages since 1941 by offering spiritual, practical, and emotional support to thousands of people each year. Scott Mission offers hot meals (six days a week, breakfast: 8-9:30 a.m.; lunch 10-11:30 a.m.); daily bag lunches; quality childcare services; a summer camp and after-school programs for children and youth from low-income families; free good-quality clothing; emergency groceries; shower and laundry facilities for the homeless; a 66-bed shelter; and out-of-town retreats for clients. Hunger is not a choice. Giving Is. Give the gift of hope by donating online at scottmission.com/neighbour or by phone at 416-923-2400.