No one chooses to be staying at a shelter at Christmas time. But for many there is nowhere else to go and, for them, this can be a particularly lonely and sad time of year. That’s why, at The Ottawa Mission, our staff and volunteers work extra hard over the Christmas season to organize festive activities that will bring some measure of comfort and joy to those who feel forgotten.
A look at just a portion of our December activity calendar says it all:
It all starts with our Christmas dinner – this year held on December 14th – when 2,279 turkey dinners with all the trimmings were served to shelter residents as well as individuals and families in the community who otherwise would not be able to afford such a meal.
On December 16th residents and visitors gathered in the dining room for a special Christmas concert, and all were surprised when one of our regular volunteers showed up with his barbershop quartet! Voices raised in song could be heard throughout the shelter and there were smiles all around.
Our Christmas Eve chapel service is always filled to capacity, with residents and visitors gathering to sing and pray – with many of the prayers focused on hope for a better life. And on Christmas Day, staff and volunteers make a special effort to ensure that every shelter resident receives a small gift.
These are just some of the many activities that help raise the spirits of those who need our help the most at this special time of year.
We couldn’t do any of this without the generosity of our volunteers and donors, and for that we are most grateful.
Merry Christmas to all, and God bless!