By Shane Wilson
Co-Chair of Fundraising, R.H. McGregor Home and School Association
Greetings parents in the RH community!
It’s that time of year! The time when we get the opportunity to create memories with our children of the heartwarming holiday tradition of gingerbread decoration whilst simultaneously truly experiencing the pleasure of giving for a cause that is unquestionably essential to our East York community.
While you and your loved ones take advantage of the opportunity provided by RH McGregor to create and decorate gingerbread houses and persons (smarties, icing sugar, jellies, sugar!) you get to strengthen your child’s ties to the RH community as well as to greater East York by assisting the Red Door Shelter.
While we dote on our children and their needs, perhaps we forget that on any given night “50 % of the residents of the Red Door Shelter are children”. Let’s have some fun decorating cookies and consuming sugar while keeping in mind that “Few situations are as difficult or as terrifying as finding oneself suddenly homeless and in desperate need of shelter for the night. Imagine what that must be like for a woman with young children fleeing her abusive partner with only the clothes on their backs. Or imagine the distress of a family that has just been evicted ― or the anxiety of a refugee, lost, scared and alone. Imagine for a moment the dread, the fear, the uncertainty of homelessness.
It is the mission of the Red Door, a not-for-profit registered charity, to end the homelessness of each family that comes through our doors by providing a safe, temporary refuge and critical services to support them in healing, rebuilding their lives and integrating back into a community.”
With the New Year coming and the inevitable resolutions (lose a few pounds, read those great works of literature, etc) also remember how vitally important it is to help families make that critical transition from homelessness to hopefulness, as a resolution they cannot do alone. Their successful transitions are due to the services and programs the Red Door Shelters provide beyond emergency beds and immediate refuge. Surely we can keep such dire needs in our minds instead of worrying about not having that next piece of pie.
Many families and individuals must regularly reach out to food banks due to the lack of affordable housing and the prohibitively high cost of private market rent in the GTA. Unlike food, paying the rent every month is non-negotiable, and many families go hungry or use a food bank to make ends meet. The Red Door Food Bank addresses an important need for families making that pivotal transition into stable and permanent independence.
Regardless of the amount or method one chooses, every dollar will directly help women, children and families in need of our emergency services as well as the crucial services that support their efforts to get back on their feet and out into the community again as fully participating citizens of our great city.
This charity event is no small endeavour. It saves lives. We, in the East York community, are all too aware of this.
Remember, these families are not strangers—they’re our neighbours. Their children are the future. They need and deserve our support. Know that every donation the Red Door receives has a direct and positive impact on a local family in need of a temporary home or fleeing abuse, helping them to reclaim their independence and rebuild their lives. Know that your support empowers and brings hope. It will feed and nourish empty stomachs and it will mend broken hearts and shattered lives. It will most certainly provide shelter when someone, somewhere in our city desperately needs our help.
Let’s get together, enjoy each other’s company, drink some hot chocolate, laugh with [or at, depending how your creation turns out] each other, eat some sugar, create some memories and help the Red Door “Open the door to help and hope”. Let’s show our children what the holiday season is really about.