Gifts for the Homeless – Activity Idea from Toronto Mom’s Group

Nov 23, 2018

Do you love to see the look on your children’s faces when they receive a gift?  Having that gift all wrapped up adds an element of mystery and fun! Now imagine the look on the face of someone who has no family to think of them, who receives a gift from your parish Moms Group? My fellow mother’s group leader, Jenny McGrath, was inspired to suggest that we do just that! This December, the mom’s group at Our Lady of Perpetual Help thought to bring the love of Christ to our homeless neighbours by gift-wrapping over 100 gifts of gloves and hats for those who were in need. Gifts were then divided among the moms to be distributed personally to the homeless along with their families over the Christmas season. Whichever way you choose to run the activity, whomever the recipient, and whatever the occasion, Jenny shares how you, too, can do something like this with your mom’s group:

What inspired you to run this activity for Mother’s Group?

I wanted to remind my family that Christmas is about giving and not receiving. Christmas has become very commercial and our children are bombarded on TV, posters on the street, subway, etc. to buy the next newest toy, best video game or fashionable shirt. Therefore, I thought we could do an activity where we would give a wrapped present to the most needy and feel joy from a simple yet powerful smile and thankful look.

What’s involved in running this?

We thought that since our target was homeless people, we would give them something to keep them warm and opted for waterproof gloves and hats.  Then we went to a wholesaler called The Bargains Group LTD and purchased over 100 toques and gloves (most men and a few women).  In addition, the company kindly donated 50 bars of soap and 50 bottles of cream.  We also bought wrapping paper in bulk which we pre-cut before the activity.  Other materials we needed were tape and scissors.

To pay for the expenses we asked parishioners and participants of Mother’s Group to contribute money for this activity.

On our planned Mother’s Group meeting, around 15 very excited mothers and facilitators got down to business.  It was a well oiled machine!  While playing Christmas music in the background we cut, wrapped and taped more than 100 presents for the poor and homeless.  We then distributed the presents depending on how we were going to deliver the gifts (by car or walking).  The sense of enthusiasm for delivering the presents with our families was in the air….

What are some ideas for how to distribute the gifts?

Some ideas on where to find homeless people are at the entrance of subway stations, near homeless shelters and generally in poorer neighbourhoods like Queen and Sherbourne.

For my family, the children were in charge of spotting the homeless people while my husband drove.  Then the kids would take turns giving the presents away.

What is the value in distributing this personally  and getting your family involved?

It gave us an opportunity to connect with the poor and to do good together making the experience that much more meaningful and special.

What did you like most about doing this with the moms?

It was such a pleasure sharing in this activity with my new friends (Mother’s Group members).  Not only did it make us closer as a group, but it also allowed us to do a nice activity with our families that probably we would have seen as overwhelming with our busy schedules.

So there you have it! You too can help your moms share the love of Christ with a simple activity like this!

Alison D’Souza

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