Looking to give back? How to help families in need through the holidays

Charity events and programs in B.C. aim to brighten the holidays for the less fortunate.

Donations, 'adopt-a-family', and many other programs help people give back

Programs across the Lower Mainland help people give back to the community during the holiday season. (Salvation Army VCFS/Twitter)

It's the season of giving.

While it's common to be pre-occupied with planning dinners and buying gifts, many charities and non-profits across the province depend on the holiday season for the bulk of their donations.

There are many ways to give back to the community in B.C. and the Lower Mainland. Here are few options that are easy to access — and help make a special holiday for someone in need.

1. Caring Neighbours Program

The Caring Neighbours Program is based out of New Westminster and run by Family Services of Greater Vancouver.

The group offers an 'adopt-a-family' program that matches donors with a family in need. All donors go shopping for gifts, and deliver the gifts in person.

Organizers recommend a budget of $100 to $120 per person. Registration for the program is ongoing for the next two weeks.

Alternatively, you can make a general donation to the charity as well.

2. The Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau

The Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau was established in 1930 as a gift exchange. 

Their current warehouse serves as a storage space for toys, clothes, and food vouchers that are gifted to families in need in communities throughout the Lower Mainland.

The bureau ships up to 100,000 items every holiday season, and is open for donations year-round.

3.  Homeless Partners

Homeless Partners operates in communities across the province, and provides support for the homeless community year-round.

During the holidays, the organization develops a Christmas Wish-List. Each wish comes from an individual living in a shelter.

Donors are encouraged to make a wish come true, and can even attach a personal message. General donations are also open.

4. Christmas Backpack Program

Each year, Covenant House organizes its Christmas Backpack Program during the holiday season. Each backpack is filled with gifts, and is given to a child in need.

Donors are encouraged to buy a backpack and drop it off at their headquarters by Dec. 11.

The group provides a backpack inventory list in case you're unsure of what to shop for.

5. Christmas assistance

The Salvation Army's Christmas Assistance program is currently accepting donations. The program helps provide gifts to individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.

The organization has also put out a call for Christmas Kettle Ringers.

6. Simplify the Season

YWCA Metro Vancouver's Simplify the Season aims to provide support for low-income single mothers and women fleeing violence.

Donations can be made online.