Rather than falling into the trap of materialist consumer culture, maggoty shopping mall parking lots and long line-ups this holiday season, why not buy a meaningful gift that gives in more ways than one?

Inside the card to your partner, family member, neighbour or Secret Santa, let them know your gift to them has helped an important and under-resourced non-profit or charity group in Newfoundland and Labrador that is working hard to help provide a better quality of life for marginalized people.

Here’s a list of 10 causes and organizations (in no particular order) that need more support to achieve their goals and meet the needs of the people they serve:

1. Autism 

Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the highest rates of autism in Canada, but families are waiting too long for a diagnosis and schools aren’t adequately resourced to support children living with autism spectrum disorder. The Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador provides crucial programming, services and supports for families, caregivers and people on the spectrum.

The ASNL’s Gifts of the Heart campaign is raising money to buy supplies and materials for their Social Club, Social Thinking, Adult Leisure, Summer Camp and Transitions programs. Click here to donate.

2. Immigrants and Refugees

Photo by Elbonita Kozhani.
Photo by Elbonita Kozhani.

The Association for New Canadians helps settle and integrate newcomers to the province, empowering them with the skills, knowledge and information necessary to become independent, contributing members of the community and country. The organization is helping in a big way with this provinces response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis and is accepting donations to sponsor refugee families.

Click here to find out how you can volunteer with the ANC and/or donate to their refugee fund and help co-sponsor a family.

3. Vulnerable Women

SJSWCThe St. John’s Status of Women Council (SJSWC) provides essential services for vulnerable women in the provincial capital. Through its women’s centre, supportive housing program and Safe Harbour Outreach Program, the SJSWC quite literally saves lives. You can donate to the Council as a whole, or direct your donation to one of their programs. Click here to make your donation.

Not in St. John’s? Click here for a list of Status of Women Councils throughout the province.

4. At-risk Youth

Every year, Choices For Youth helps over 1,000 homeless and at-risk youth secure stable housing and access education and employment. For more information, and to support their Home for the Holidays campaign, click here.

Thrive (Community Youth Network) aims to identify gaps in services and create solutions for resilient youth through direct programming and services. Your donation of funds or Shopper’s Drug Mart points will help provide food, personal care items, education, emergency support, and recreational activities to at-risk youth, and can be made here.

5. Sexual Health

Planned Parenthood promotes sexual health through education, community partnerships and medical services. They also run Camp Eclipse, a leadership retreat for LGBTQ youth. Support the great work they do by donating here.

6. Mental Health

Recently, mental health has been widely addressed in the political sphere and the media — excellent steps away from the stigma that has long kept these discussions at bay.

The Community Coalition for Mental Health (CC4MH) is working hard to promote awareness, provide support and advocate for improved services. Help them continue their work by donating here.

7. Indigenous people in the city

The St. John’s Native Friendship Centre runs programs to help Indigenous and other marginalized people in the capital city, including the Four Winds Youth Centre and the Shanawdithit Shelter. Click here to support their efforts.

8. Vulnerable Men 

The John Howard Society provides counselling, residential, employment and related services to adult and youth ex-offenders and works to rehabilitate offenders and build safer communities through effective, just and humane responses to the causes and consequences of crime.

9. Social Justice

The Social Justice Co-operative of Newfoundland and Labrador is a not-for-profit co-operative based in St. John’s which aims, as its core commitment, to advance the cause of social, economic and political equality in the province and abroad. You can learn more about what they do, and become a donor, on their website.

10. Independent Journalism

This is a crucial time for The Independent, and we need your support. As a non-profit media outlet, we offer stories and perspectives that are underrepresented in the mainstream press. To help us continue publishing in 2016, please consider a monthly or one-time donation. You can do so here or by clicking the link below.

This is a crucial time for The Independent and we need your support. As a non-profit media outlet the Indy offers stories and perspectives that are underrepresented or absent in the province’s mainstream press. – See more at: http://localhost:9000/#sthash.951uF2jv.dpuf
This is a crucial time for The Independent and we need your support. As a non-profit media outlet the Indy offers stories and perspectives that are underrepresented or absent in the province’s mainstream press. – See more at: http://localhost:9000/#sthash.951uF2jv.dpuf
Justin Brake is an independent journalist from Elmastukwek, Ktaqmkuk (Bay of Islands, Newfoundland) who currently lives and works on unceded Algonquin territory in Ottawa. He is of mixed settler and Mi'kmaq descent and focuses much of his attention on Indigenous rights and liberation, social justice, climate action and decolonization. He has worked in various capacities for CBC, The Telegram, APTN News and The Independent, and is actively exploring new forms and styles of journalistic storytelling through emerging frameworks like movement journalism and systems journalism.