With our joint traditions of Sinterklaas and Christmas coming up soon, many of us look toward our community and the less fortunate to help where we can and to share our blessings, good spirit, and kind hearts. Giving back to the community by donating money and volunteering our time is a wonderful way to get involved and to make the world a better place.

Below are two examples of national and local foundations that are making a direct impact in peoples lives. However, how do you know which charity to give to, what makes for a good charitable event and which ethical considerations come into play when giving?

Please join our event on December 3rd to learn more on how to make smart charitable decisions. Click here to register for this interactive event, and we look forward to hearing which foundation you would want to select as the winning charity to receive our CNBPA donation.

Are you too excited to wait, and do you want to make an impact right away? Read below about two foundations and see how you can get involved!

A Home For Our Heroes                                                        
Not all heroes have a home. We have 5,000 veterans living on the street in Canada facing a mental and financial crisis upon their return to civilian life. They fought for our freedom, our safety, and our country. Now it is time that we fight for them.

Many veterans struggle with PTSD due to their experiences, but with the proper support they will be able to start the next chapter of their own freedom. The Homes for Heroes Foundation is working together with Veterans Affairs, local municipalities, and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to serve those who have served for us. By building a village of “tiny homes” they supply a chance for our heroes to get back on their feet. With their beautiful teamwork in Kingston ON, each party provided a valuable contribution (land, funds, professional counsellors) to work towards a common goal of building a village of 25 tiny homes for their local homeless veterans. Each village contains a Support Counsellor, a family suite, peer-to-peer support programs, and other resource amenities to get these veterans back on their feet. 

There is a long way to go to prevent homelessness amongst military veterans, but Homes for Heroes is fighting the good cause and can use all support and help they can get. If you feel drawn towards their cause and want to give back to our heroes, please donate your contribution here.

Local Community Spirit in Huntsville
The Homes For Heroes village is the first of its kind in Ontario, and a result of a partnership of different layers of government and foundations. However as an individual you can also make a significant difference and that is exactly what Mark Boekelman (artist and humanitarian) and Heather Cassie (CEO The Table Soup Kitchen Foundation) show us with their own personal initiatives. They are currently fighting to legalize tiny homes in Muskoka with the aim to build and supply more housing for local homeless veterans. There are minimum requirements for a region to be considered for the new development by Homes for Heroes, such as a minimum of 60 qualifying local homeless military veterans and the support of the local municipality to donate the land on which the village will be build. The next locations to be considered are in the cities of Hamilton, Toronto and London. But even though Muskoka will not be chosen as the next location, Mark is persistent, and suggests building his own tiny home to offer to local homeless people in need.

Meanwhile, Heather Cassie is the driving force behind The Table Soup Kitchen Foundation and is making a difference in her local community by running a food bank, a soup kitchen, an exchange store, and a men’s hostel to provide support and comfort for the less fortunate in Huntsville ON. With the noble goal of “Bringing community together to help others”, The Table Soup Kitchen Foundation is trying to provide comfort, a safe place, and a warm meal for those in need. Speaking with Heather, she told me about the struggles of less fortunate people who find themselves in an instable financial or personal situation. Some homeless, some poor, or whoever knocks on their doors, will be served with their ready to go meal boxes (COVID-19 safety measurements in place). Their shelter, soup kitchen, and food bank are volunteer based and are funded by donations from mostly individuals and local businesses.

In Huntsville the effects of COVID-19 have also been felt severely, and the food bank notices a higher demand for their warm meals. So far, as of the summer of 2020 they have served over 3,000 meals alone, with the toughest time of the year still to come. Compare this to the shy of 4,300 meals served in the entire previous year, we can only hope for the best and prepare for the worst. The higher demand is already worrisome, but on top of that their last board meeting stated a problematic lower level of donations coming through as well. With a higher demand as well as less contributions, this upcoming winter will be a tough one to battle. However, during the whole conversation, I only hear gratitude from Heather for the donations, gifts, and help she and her volunteering team receives. Optimistic throughout, she tells me that the Christmas spirit brings out the best in people and she hopes that also this year the foundation will be supported through the kindness of the community, by sharing what they can to help others. One of the biggest struggles running this Foundation is the fluctuation of donations and therefore regular support is most appreciated to keep providing the services the local people need. If you feel drawn to contributing to this local cause, please do so here.

The Charity of Your Choice
These two charities were brought to our attention by a local CNBPA member, asking to raise awareness amongst of our membership base. What better way to use our network, than for the greater good? Do you have a charity that is close to your heart and for which you would like to raise awareness? We look forward to hearing your chosen charity at our virtual event on December 3rd . Let us know which charity you would like to put forward in our interactive social event!  With enough member votes your charity could receive our CNBPA Sinterklaas donation of this year.

Happy Holidays everybody!


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