The Giving Season: a donation guide for the holidays

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Once the tree is up and the gifts wrapped, those with a little extra should consider sharing the warmth with families in need this holiday season so that everyone can feel the love. The following is a list of places that can always use a bit of help to ensure everyone is taken care of this Christmas season.


The Kate Sharl Foundation

The Kate Sharl Foundation is a non-profit charity that helps Cree children with special needs. They provide culturally appropriate materials to infants aged 0-18 months to help with their developmental challenges and improve their quality of life. For more info, or to donate, go to


Willie’s Place, Val-d’Or

Until Willie’s Place came along, the homeless in Val-d’Or had nowhere warm to spend the day. Willie’s Place, created by the homeless outreach organization La Piauvre and individuals like Edith Cloutier of the Val-d’Or Native Friendship Centre, is named for Willie Hester, a Cree who had lived on the city’s streets. When it comes to the holidays or any time of year, the organization could always use a helping hand.

Cloutier says that cash donations are always appreciated. In particular, they go to a fund the shelter created to help clients who have lost their identification. She notes that it costs around $50 to $60 to replace status cards as well as those for health insurance, social insurance numbers, and so on. They also use donations to help with the $500 a month they spend to keep the coffee flowing.



The Meechum grocery store in Mistissini continues with its annual Wreath of Hope Campaign to create Christmas baskets and food vouchers for families in need. The vouchers and baskets will be distributed December 17, but donations can be made throughout the year – as hunger is something that knows no season.

Meanwhile, the Mistissini Native Women’s Association will again conduct its Angel Tree operation to distribute Christmas presents to disadvantaged children. People can donate a gift by selecting one of the angel cards on the association’s Christmas tree, which represent the age and gender of a boy or girl who is in need of a present. For more info: 418-923-3343



Chisasibi’s Deputy Fire Chief, Donovan Lameboy, says that several activities will be organized to collect funds and toys for the less fortunate. The fire department will be hitting the streets to collect money at intersections in Chisasibi, while sending donation requests to local entities and businesses. According to Lameboy, both the Youth Council and the Justice Department will pitch in by holding toy drives for boys and girls in need of special surprises under the tree. The dates for these events will be announced soon.



The Fire Department will collect donations until December 7, with all funds used to purchase gift cards from the Northern Store. On December 19, firefighters will drive their fire engine through the community on a toy drive, with donated gifts to be distributed Christmas Eve.



This year’s collection of toys and dry goods will be handled by Elizabeth Wapachee at the Wellness Centre and assisted by the local fire department. If you would like to contribute, there will be a donation box to collect dry goods and toys at the Nemaska store.



The Ouje-Bougoumou fire department will handle the food drive this year. They’ll have food donation boxes in all local businesses. More information on this year’s holiday fundraising will be announced soon.



The Waskaganish campaign to help those in need is called Piichamakan Miiwewan. According to Conrad Blueboy at the Youth Council office, they are hoping to help 30 families this year. Anyone who wishes to contribute to the campaign can drop by the Youth Council office before December 14 as deliveries will commence the week of December 17.  For more info, call the Youth Council office at 819-895-2882.



The local fire department will be working with the local wellness department to collect donations at a date to be announced in December.



Started in 2010, Wemindji’s Christmas Gift of Hope Campaign is a combined effort between the Wellness and Culture Department, the Wemindji Community Store, and the Wemindji office of the CNG Department of Justice.

Because a great deal of the food collected in the past was processed and sometimes not ideal for everyone’s diet, the campaign now asks that those who wish to donate do so by giving cash.

In Wemindji, the whole community comes together for the event, including all local entities and businesses, to donate directly at the cash registers of the Community Store. The program runs all year to consistently help families in need. Although food is no longer collected, the Gift of Hope does accept donations of toys and clothes for children.



The local Women’s Association handles fundraising for Christmas baskets in Whapmagoostui. Every Saturday afternoon until December 22, the women sell their homemade crafts and home-baked goods in the lobby of the arena to raise money for Christmas baskets. This fundraising is win/win as you can purchase an amazing gift and help a family in need.


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