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5 ways to spread kindness in Toronto this holiday season

How to spread kindness and not COVID this season

This article began as a list of small businesses in Toronto’s east end that carry sustainable products to gift to friends and family, but then I had a COVID scare. 

The omicron variant is burning its way through the city and the world feels too scary for last-minute Christmas shopping.

Instead, here are five products that support mutual aid funds, charities and non-profits in Toronto. Besides helping individuals in need, these organizations have some pretty sweet swag for a small donation. They also deliver and take online orders if you’re as skittish as I am around crowds.

1. FoodShare's Holiday Abundance Box
Delicious and nutritious!

FoodShare is a registered Canadian Charity, founded over 30 years ago to address Toronto’s growing food insecurity. Today, they create programming surrounding issues of food justice, including: school lunch programs, community gardens, and community kitchens. FoodShare created the Holiday Abundance Box to feature the delicious sweets and savouries from local small businesses run by BIPOC women.

Shop Holiday Abundance Boxes
2. Feed the People Toque from Native Arts Society
feed ppl toque

All proceeds from the sale of this hat go to Dashmaawaan Bemadzinjin (They Feed the People), an Indigenous-led mutual aid program that came about to support community based Indigenous food sovereignty in Toronto. The group, made up of dynamic Indigenous women, is delivering traditional, nutritious meals for those from Toronto’s Indigenous community who do not regularly have access to food security.

Shop FTP Toque
3. Curtia Wright, Anne, available via the Riverdale Hub
curtia blog

Curtia Wright is a multi-disciplinary Fine Artist, Mural Artist and Arts Educator based in Toronto, Ontario. Using elements of fantasy, surrealism and colour, her artwork re-imagines our reality. Her narratives focus on telling stories of black peoples of the African dysphoria, primarily about her own heritage as a Jamaican-Canadian, questioning North American and European indoctrinated beliefs of femininity and blackness. Wright’s work is often autobiographical and inspired by pop-culture, Caribbean mythology & folklore. 

The Riverdale Hub is a not-for-profit organization that supports minority communities in the heart of Toronto’s Little India. Specifically supporting immigrant and refugee women, The Hub balances the socio-economic, cultural, environmental, and artistic needs and aspirations of surrounding patrons.

Shop Curtia Wright
4. Chief Lady Bird’s Naandwi’aan Wall Clock, via the North York Women’s Shelter Shop
CLB for blog

Chief Lady Bird’s Naandwi’aan Wall Clock, Available via the North York Women’s Shelter Shop Chief Lady Bird is a Chippewa and Potawatomi artist from Rama First Nation and Moosedeer Point First Nation, who is currently based in Rama. Her art practice is continuously shapeshifting, and is always heavily influenced by her passion for empowering and uplifting Indigenous folks through the subversion of colonial narratives. 

 The North York Women’s Shelter is open to women, trans folks, and their children. The centre offers a violence-free space to stay, supportive programming and assistance, advocacy and 24 hour crisis support for those in the North York Community.

Shop Chief Lady Bird
5. 1 for 1 Sock Program, Province of Canada
Socks blog

Province of Canada is anti-fast fashion and is 100% manufactured in Canada. This year, for every pair of socks purchased, they are donating a pair to a Canadian homeless shelter.

Shop Socks at Province of Canada
In missing family and friends this year, I’m remembering what the genuine spirit of giving is about. The best gift you can give is being kind.