Even with Christmas just two days away, there’s still time to pick up a few items on local charities’ wish lists.
Many of Ottawa’s charitable organizations experience their greatest need during the winter months and with the recession, 2009 has seen a rise in the demand for the services these organizations provide.
“It's been really, really busy this year," said executive director of the Shepherds of Good Hope, Paul Soucie.
The number of families on the list for Christmas hampers – which provide families with a full Christmas dinner – has increased by about 100 this season. Soucie said that they are most in need of grocery gift cards as well as meat and canned goods.
The Ottawa Mission is also busier this year.
“We've noticed more people coming in for a meal, people who may not be homeless but who can't make it from paycheque to paycheque,” said spokeswoman Shirley Roy.
While the shelter held its successful community Christmas dinner earlier this week and the Mission sees a surge in volunteerism during the holidays, Roy said enthusiasm tends to die down as the winter wears on. “Homelessness goes on all year round,” she said. “We'd like to see that (support) continue into the coming months.”
During the winter season, the shelter continually seeks donations of warm clothing, including coats, hats, mitts, boots, underwear and warm socks.
Animals are also in need at this time of year. Winter is the busiest time for the Ottawa Humane Society's emergency departments, as many animals are exposed to the elements. This season, the OHS seeks monetary donations and pet supplies.