Brantford charities celrbrate successful holiday season

Many local charities were busy over the holidays, gathering donations to help those in need.

The Brantford Food Bank recently completed their annual Christmas Baskets Program, benefiting people from Brantford, Brant County and Six Nations.

The Brantford Food Bank recently completed their annual Christmas Baskets Program. Photo by Cody Hoffman
The Brantford Food Bank recently completed their annual Christmas Baskets Program. Photo by Cody Hoffman

The program was successful in providing baskets to all of the households that registered for the program. Brantford citizens supported the program through monetary donations, as well as donating their time by helping to deliver over 2000 baskets to the households.

The success of these programs is the result of a collective effort within the community, according to Christmas Baskets Program Manager, Cindy Oliver.

“We rely on everybody, donations come in from all parts of the community. Churches are a regular supporter, they always drop off donations weekly. We have different groups that will do food drives; we have places like the grocery stores, that support us on an ongoing weekly basis,” Oliver stated.

The Brant United Way is celebrating their successful 2014 campaign, having raised $1,657,930 as of Dec. 18, surpassing their goal of $1.651 million.

“We had many new or increased donors come on board and we are pleased to announce that a number of new businesses joined our list of supporters in the past few weeks,” stated Lauren Theobalds, interim Campaign Director of the Brant United Way, in a press release. “I am so proud of our community for what they have accomplished – they stepped up when we said we were short, and they’ve made this success a reality!”

Charities have a large influence, whether it be in small communities or across the country. According to the Statistics Canada study “Charitable giving by Canadians”, financial donations to charities by Canadians totaled $10.6 billion in 2010. The median amount of these donations was $123.

The study also found that 94 per cent of Canadians aged fifteen and over made a charitable donation in 2010 that was either financial or of goods/food, in a survey of 15,482 respondents.

It is evident that donations to charities are at their peak during holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. It is positive that communities can generate so much support during this time; however donations are needed all year round, especially during the winter months.

Cindy Oliver spoke about this problem, which affects the Brantford Food Bank, as well as other charitable organizations in the city.

“Once Christmas is over things are pretty slow into January and February. We start to pick up again around April; there is always a big focus around food banks and food donations during holiday seasons.”

It is clear that the people receiving charitable donations will see an increase in their quality of life, however the donors may also stand to benefit as well. The study “Effects of Social and Human Resources on Charitable Giving”, completed by Pamala Wiepking at the University of Amsterdam, examined factors among charitable donors in the Netherlands, such as level of education, financial resources and presence of pro-social personality characteristics.

The study discovered that, “Donors are likely to receive psychological and social benefits from their donation, such as feelings of joy or warm glow, enhanced self esteem, and increased social status.”

Oliver affirmed that donations are more than welcome all year round, and any support is greatly appreciated.

“We are open Monday to Friday, and also the local grocery stores have donation bins, so they are more than happy to take food donations, and we pick up from them every couple of days,” she stated.

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