Holiday Charitable Giving Guide 2020

A gift wrapped up alongside other holiday decorations
Photo by Joshua Lam on Unsplash

The holiday season is here, and while it’s the most wonderful time of the year for some, it can be the most difficult time of year for others. We put together a list of local charities and non-profit organizations to help people across Muskoka spread the holiday cheer and support their fellow community members. The list includes ways to donate money or time to local causes as well as other ideas to uplift the community this Christmas.

Ways To Donate Your Money Or Time

Support local shelters: Shelters like Chrysalis, Muskoka Interval House and The Table Men’s Shelter provide support and services to locals affected by homelessness and/or abuse. Visit their websites to learn more about how you can support their operations, and visit the District of Muskoka website for more information about shelters in and around Muskoka.

Support local health-related causes: Organizations like Hands The Family Help Network and Community Living South Muskoka provide services for developmentally disabled people and their families while other groups like The Alzheimer Society of Muskoka, Tourette Muskoka, CNIB Lake Joe and Deaf Access Simcoe Muskoka advocate for other groups within the region. Hospice Muskoka and Hospice Huntsville also provide programs and services for individuals and families that require end-of-life support. Visit the websites for these organizations to learn more about how you can contribute.

Support animals and the environment: Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary rehabilitates local wildlife, saving hundreds of animals with the help of fundraising as the sanctuary receives no government funding. Muskoka Conservancy also protects the region’s wildlife by overseeing and maintaining over 2,700 acres of natural land. Other organizations like Paws of the North Rescue and the Comfie Cat Shelter rescue, rehabilitate and adopt out household pets. Visit the organizations’ websites to learn more about how you can help support their operations.

Support women in Muskoka: YWCA Muskoka works to prevent violence against women while also creating educational, leadership and other opportunities for women and girls across Muskoka. The Muskoka Women’s Advocacy Group also works to eliminate violence against women, operating two shelters along with offering a variety of programs and resources for women. Christine’s Place is a pregnancy and family support centre for people impacted by unplanned pregnancy. Visit their websites to see how to make a donation or get involved as a volunteer.

Support children and families in Muskoka: Muskoka Family Focus & Children’s Place offers child and family supports and educational resources, aiming to nurture Muskoka children and their families through affordable, accessible learning while the Children’s Foundation of Muskoka provides grants to meet the recreational, cultural, medical and emotional needs of children. Visit their websites for more information on how to support their programming.

Support the creation of housing in Bala: Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North is raising money for the creation of two affordable, accessible homes in Bala. Local real estate broker Heather Scott is leading the fundraising initiative with the goal of raising $25,000 by the end of the year, which a group of donors from Friends of Muskoka have offered to match. Visit the Habitat for Humanity website to contribute, and read our coverage of the fundraising to learn more.

Other Ways To Support The Community

Clean out your cabinets for local food banks: A great way to support residents across Muskoka during the holidays is by making a donation to local food banks. You can clean out your cabinets and pool donations with your friends and family to make a contribution to food banks like The Salvation Army South Muskoka Ministries, Manna Food Bank, The Table and Dwight Winter Pantry. For more information about Muskoka food banks and other community supports, visit the District of Muskoka website.

Donate blood: Making a donation through Canadian Blood Services is an easy, free way to support the community this winter. Read our list of December Blood Donation Clinics In And Around Muskoka and book your appointment by going online to, by downloading the GiveBlood app or by calling 1-888-2DONATE.

Ask loved ones to donate or volunteer on your behalf: Instead of making a wishlist of gifts for friends and family, ask for donations to local causes that are important to you. You can also ask friends and family to donate their time by volunteering for the organizations mentioned above.

Spread the word: As COVID continues to impact the time and resources available to local charities, many causes are struggling to meet their needs for funding and other forms of support. Help out the cause that’s important to you by spreading the word with your family and friends, on social media and anywhere else you can share their message.

What charity are you supporting this holiday season? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or visit our social media pages to join the discussion.


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