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Receiving holiday charity can carry stigma: Experts

It’s common this time of year to talk about the importance of giving. But little is said about how it feels to receive charity.

It’s common this time of year to talk about the importance of giving. But little is said about how it feels to receive charity.

Though many are indeed grateful for shows of charity during the holidays, psychologists and charity officials caution that the giving/receiving relationship can also be fraught with stigmatization.

Louise Coutu, executive director of the Toronto branch of St. Vincent de Paul, says the charity often has to disappoint food basket donors who want to deliver gifts themselves.

“We try to make people understand that getting the gifts to the person is more important than making you feel good by delivering it,” Coutu says, adding the reaction is not always as expected.

“You just never know what you’re going to get when you open that door. Some people are thrilled to have you there and others are very begrudging,” Coutu says.

 
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