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Halifax shelter for women, children reports increase in Christmas gift donations

Image of Jessica Salmon with her niece and nephew, donating $300 worth of toys and goods for the shelter.
Image of Jessica Salmon with her niece and nephew, donating $300 worth of toys and goods for the shelter. Kathy McNab/Adsum House

More than 600 children have received Christmas gifts this year, ranging from makeup to gift cards, through Adsum House’s toy drive.

Adsum shelters and houses as many as 120 people each day and more than 300 people in a year at an Adsum location, according to the shelter’s website.

The housing team also helps them find safe and affordable homes with ongoing services for stable housing, food, clothing and connection.

Read more: Nova Scotian poker star helps families in need for the holiday season

But this year was special, with one of the staff members, who’s been doing this for seven years, saying that people have been overwhelmingly more generous than any other year.

I think the housing situation has been talked about a lot more this year and, I think, people are more aware of the homelessness problem in Halifax now than they were ever before,” said Kathy McNab, fund development and communications officer.

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“So I think it’s a combination of COVID-19 and people really wanting to do something more for their community.”

Adsum House staff members preparing gifts for families and their children.
Adsum House staff members preparing gifts for families and their children. Kathy McNab/Adsum House

McNab said Adsum has over 100 children that are part of the families they support every day with housing, and once they finished supporting all of the children of the families they serve, the staff then invited some other community groups to come and pick some toys as well.

Some of these community groups include the North End Community Health Centre, Bayers Westwood Family Resource Centre and many schools that knew that certain families needed support.

But unlike last year, where moms could come into the shelter and do the shopping themselves, McNab said that due to the COVID-19, they’ve had their social workers and case managers who work with each family come in and shop for the families.

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Click to play video: 'Dartmouth teen shows off impressive nutcracker collection' Dartmouth teen shows off impressive nutcracker collection
Dartmouth teen shows off impressive nutcracker collection – Dec 24, 2020

Adsum House said it had a Christmas wish list posted on its website, which included gift cards, adult bus tickets, leggings, thermal socks and face masks, to let people in the community know what some of the families wished for and needed.

“The teens and tweens are less looked after when people are donating. We get a lot for the little ones. So this year we really stressed that need for the older kids,” said McNab.

For tweens and teens, Adsum listed gift cards for Sport Chek, American Eagle, Zara, H&M, Old Navy, Ardene, Best Buy and McDonald’s as the preferred gifts for that particular age group.

Adsum House staff and volunteers helping with the drive.
Adsum House staff and volunteers helping with the drive. Kathy McNab/Adsum House

McNab said she was glad that so many community members stuck to the wish list.

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She also noted that more and more families come to their door to teach their children about giving.

I really see that growing so much every year, and it’s that part of my job I love the most to see happen every year,” said McNab.

She said people are realizing that their kids “don’t need more stuff” and that it’s important to do something different for the community.

“That is certainly the big increase we’ve seen this year. It’s amazing. It’s just so heartwarming.”

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