For the past 65 years, CMHA Toronto’s Holiday Gift Program has partnered with agencies across the GTA to deliver gifts to people who find themselves isolated during the holiday season and bring a little warmth to those in need at this time of year.
2020 has been a year like no other. Due to the pandemic, we have all experienced a lack of social connection, and it has brought the effects of social isolation into focus. While this may be new for some of us, social isolation has been an everyday reality for many people who struggle with their mental health, and the pandemic has only amplified feelings of loneliness. In 2018, the health insurance company, Cigna, determined that “loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”
This loneliness and isolation has shown to extend to children whose parents experience mental health issues, making the holidays particularly challenging for all. This year’s Holiday Gift Program aims to help alleviate that feeling of isolation, while increasing food security by distributing 3500 gift cards as well as 328 special gift cards for children. Our partnership with various agencies throughout the city means your donation helps women fleeing violence, the homeless, recently arrived immigrants and many others who are struggling at this time.
“The Holiday Gift Program brings a lot of joy to people, and for some, it is the bright spot of their holiday, many of them still talking about gifts they received years ago.” – Nicole Kitchen, Residential Counsellor
For many of us, the act of giving is what makes the holidays truly special, and the opportunity to give to someone who is in need is the most rewarding gift of all.
While we recognize that many people’s financial situation has changed due to the pandemic, we hope you can help spread a little extra joy this holiday season by considering a gift to the Holiday Gift Program!