4 Ways to Spread Joy This Holiday Season

December is upon us which can be a hard time for many students. Studying for exams consumes our lives, the cold weather makes the walk from our houses to campus an extreme sport, and we have been away from home for so long that we start forgetting what our families looks like. While all of these things can make life difficult right now, it is important to remember the position of privilege we hold this holiday season.

It’s important to use this privilege to help those in need. London’s high poverty rate causes many to struggle all year round, but the holidays can be an especially tricky time. According to a Global News article about the 2015 census, London's child poverty rate is the third highest in Canada. Many children don’t get to experience the holidays the same way that maybe you did when you were a child and many parents can’t meet the demands that the holidays bring. The same goes for children and other individuals who have been abused and need support from organizations around the city.

Of course, those in poverty are not the only ones struggling around Christmas. This is a tough time for countless individuals and families around London. This holiday season, consider helping those in need. Here are four ways to spread joy this holiday season.

1. Donate your time

Local organizations, such as Anova (a merger between Women’s Community House and Sexual Assault Centre London), help abused individuals and are always looking for volunteers to help with events, to sort donations, and assist in the kitchen. To learn more about volunteering for these organizations visit the Women’s Community House volunteer website or the Sexual Assault Centre London volunteer website.

2. Donate goods

Like every city, London has a food bank that accepts donations all year long. Consider helping a family in need by donating food that could be put towards a holiday dinner. The food bank also accepts items such as toilet paper and personal hygiene products.

Another organization to consider donating to is the London Public Library. The London Public Library is a free service to those living in London that promotes literacy and community bonding. Books and other media are accepted as donations. You can also make a financial donation or donate your time as a volunteer.

3. Visit a local nursing home

A senior living in a nursing home may not be able to spend holidays with loved ones. Consider visiting a nursing home and spending time with some of the residents. This is beneficial for both parties as you supply company to someone in need and you can hear interesting stories of the past and gain wisdom from those who have more life experiences than you. Here is a list of nursing and retirement homes in London.

4. Do a Random Act of Kindness

Whether this means buying a coffee for the person behind you in line or leaving someone an encouraging note during a tough time, random acts of kindness have the ability to make someone’s day. Check out the Random Acts of Kindness website for ideas on how you can make a kind gesture to someone. Also be sure to check out organizations on campus such as The Butterfly Effect, which promotes spreading kindness.

While you are preparing for exams, remember to take some time out to help those in need. London is your home away from home and it is important to help the residents that make the city all that it is.

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