TORONTO, Ont.--The CITT’s Toronto Area Council hopes to assist with packing and distributing gifts to over 325 families this year. The TAC is working with Holiday Helpers, a Toronto based volunteer run registered charity, and has put out the call for volunteers.
Denise Ponte, CITT, a Logistics Coordinator for Effective Logistical Solutions, is a toy drive coordinator for Holiday Helpers and is also active with the CITT Toronto Area Council. Ponte serves as the liaison between the TAC and Holiday Helpers.
Tom Pauls, Vice-Chair, with the CITT Toronto Area Council, and Andrew Paxton, iVice Chair, Development on the board for CITT National, are also involved with the Holiday Helpers volunteer initiative.
Retired logistics professional and former past chair, CITT National John Chipperfield is a leader in the volunteer effort and “is the primary person who spearheaded the initiative and introduced Holiday Helpers to CITT,” noted Ponte.
A founding partner with freight forwarder Bellville Rodair International, Chipperfield boasts close to 40 years of transportation and logistics experience.
“The TAC sent an e-mail out to members about what we’re doing and asking those in the industry to contribute,” said Ponte.
The TAC has asked for donated warehouse space in the Mississauga or Etobicoke area for the picking and packing involved in the operation. The space would be required between December 1 and 15.
In terms of long-term warehouse space, the TAC needs space to hold about 10 skids or less for storage of leftover merchandise and supplies until next November.
There is also a need for corrugated cardboard boxes for kitting and delivery. The preferred sizes are 20x13x13” and 24x20x18”, and size 12x12x12”.
The committee would also like to borrow four pump trucks for a 2-week stretch from December 1 – 15, and also requires a small amount of storage space in a handful of locations across the GTA where donors can drop off gift donations from late November until early December.
“By volunteering your time, expertise and access to resources, you’ll be making a big difference in the lives of hundreds of local families at a time of the year when need is felt most of all,” said the TAC committee.
Holiday Helpers is a volunteer-run registered charity whose mission is to provide a one time personalized Christmas package to low income families with young children who are trying to improve their circumstances.
The charity works with donors, volunteers and referring charities to provide each family with a holiday meal, decorated Christmas tree and individually selected Christmas gifts.
Holiday Helpers originated in 1996 when two sisters read in their local paper about a family who had lost everything in a fire just days before Christmas. Wanting to do more than just give money, April and Sarah Rutka canvassed their friends and families collecting Christmas decorations and spare change to purchase the family an artificial tree.
In the years that followed, the momentum of the group grew as the sisters enlisted more good Samaritans to adopt more and more families each season. Since 1996, Holiday Helpers has donated Christmas packages to over 1,200 families in the greater Toronto area.
Holiday Helpers provides a Christmas package to low income families. Many families are single-parent households, some are new to Canada, and all are involved with subsidized agencies for daycare, family aid, and/or job placement. The parents or guardians are all motivated to make a positive difference in their children’s lives. They sometimes work multiple jobs to make ends meet, attend school or even perform volunteer work of their own.
Each family receives an artificial Christmas tree with all the trimmings, including lights, decorations and a tree topper, gift certificate to a local grocery store for a warm Christmas meal, and personalized gifts from the family’s wish list, including warm jackets, clothing, household items and toys.
The 2012 program had record success providing Christmas packages to 273 families, said the charity, with over $130,000 donated to the holiday cause, along with mountains of gifts, decorations and wrapping paper, said the charity.
Over 1,000 volunteers shopped, wrapped and delivered gifts.
If you’re interested in helping, or if you have any questions about this exciting initiative, please e-mail CITTholidayhelpers@gmail.com and specify how you would like to be of assistance in the e-mail.