Sponsor a Family
*Registration to Sponsor a Family is now Closed. To make a donation to the Christmas Program, please visit Project SHARE at 2-4129 Stanley Avenue, Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.*
As Christmas approaches we are looking for sponsors to help us provide a holiday meal and children’s gifts to an estimated 4,000 people in Niagara Falls.
After you register you will be matched with a family and receive their profile and wish list items for their children. You will shop for that specific family and help them enjoy the magic of the holiday season! After you’ve shopped you will receive a drop off window to bring your gift cards and gifts to St. Andrew’s United Church where your family will later pick up.
What is the Christmas Program?
Project SHARE’s Christmas program provides a holiday meal for families and gifts under the tree for children 17 and under, in an effort to make Christmas a special time for every member of our community.
Who does the Christmas Program Help?
The Christmas program helps Niagara Falls families who are living on a low income as determined by Statistics Canada’s Low Income Cut Off. Last year, the program helped 3,953 individuals within 1,798 households.
How can I support my neighbours in need?
You can use our registration form to sign up. You can choose to support one or more families of a specific size, depending on your budget. Once you register, you will receive information about the family you are matched with. This will include the names of people in the family, and their Christmas wishlist. We will share information about the ages and interests of the children and any special gift wishes they share.
How much should I spend on the family?
We endeavour to ensure same size families receive similar values in their Christmas support. We encourage you to follow this recommendation on spending.
· $25 for each person for the Grocery Gift Card value
· $50 – $75 for each person 17 and under for Gifts
How will the family I sponsor receive their gift?
The COVID-19 pandemic brought many changes to our operations. In 2020, for the first time since the Christmas program began, we altered the program in ways that would ensure the safety of everyone involved. We surveyed client families and sponsors after Christmas to gather feedback on what worked well and what didn’t. There was an overwhelmingly positive response from everyone involved. We will continue to schedule sponsors to drop gifts off at St. Andrew’s United Church on a given day and families pick up their packages on a pre-determined day as well.
Groceries, gifts or gift cards?
Another learning that came from the survey was that many families do not celebrate Christmas with a traditional turkey dinner and that they preferred receiving grocery gift cards so that they could purchase items that were their family favourites.
We received mixed feedback on whether gift cards or specific items were preferred for the children’s gifts. Some families appreciated the opportunity to be able be involved in choosing the gift they knew their child would love while others noted it was very difficult for them to get to the store to shop, in particular single parents.
Should you wish to receive additional information from the family in order to make your purchases (e.g. the grocery store they prefer to shop at or a specific question about a child’s gift, you will receive a method of contact (phone or email) so you can get in touch.
What do I need to know when I drop off my packages?
After you register, you will be matched with a family and receive an email that provides more information about them, what gifts their children would like for Christmas, and a date that we would like you to drop your items off for the family at St. Andrew’s United Church.
When you arrive at St. Andrew’s United Church, please proceed to the donation drop off table with the following:
- Your boxes/packages are clearly labeled with the name of the family you are sponsoring.
- Please do not place gift cards inside the packages. Provide them in a clearly labeled separate envelope. Gift Cards are kept separate so we can ensure they are hand delivered to the family and ensure they are not misplaced or lost.
- Please do not wrap the gifts you may be providing because we would like the parents to see the gifts you are providing to their children before hand.
- While the focus of the gift portion of the program is on the children, should you wish to purchase a gift for the parents, you are welcome to do so.
- ·If you wish to receive a tax receipt for your support, please include all purchase receipts (originals) and your name and full address. We must have your full address and original receipts to meet requirements set out for tax receipting by the Canada Revenue Agency.
If you are not able to drop off your packages on the dates provided, please be sure to contact Mackenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org or (905) 357-5121, Ext. 248.