Helping families in need at Christmas time is what Sarah and April Rutka have been doing for over a decade.
Holiday Helpers is a volunteer run registered charity whose mission is to provide a one time personalized Christmas package to low income families in the Greater Toronto Area.
“We decided to do this in about 1996, because we read about a family in Brampton that had lost everything in a fire and we wanted to help. So we scraped together some money, we were able to get them a Christmas tree and buy some decorations,” says Sarah.
Each package includes: an artificial Christmas tree, ornaments, a gift certificate to a local grocery store and personalized gifts from the family’s wish list.
Earlier this year Ashley Robinson, a single mother of four, lost her home in a fire. Ashley will be relying on Holiday Helpers to bring Christmas to life this year for her and her family.
“It’s so stressful this time of year because you know your kids want so many things and as a parent you just want to give them everything they want,” says Ashley.
Since 1999, Holiday Helpers has donated Christmas packages to more than 750 families.
“They can go from having something to having nothing. When you hear these stories that’s when you really feel that you have made a massive difference in people’s lives,” says April.
You can find out more information here.