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A homeless shelter is a place where no-one would choose to spend the Christmas season, but for 235 men who need to sleep in our beds every night, that is the reality they face. And for them and hundreds more people in our community who are living in poverty or on the streets, the meals and events planned over the holidays at The Ottawa Mission are all they have to look forward to.

That is why we work so hard to make this time of year as special as possible.

Beginning early in December, we set up and decorate a tree in the Chapel, and people are invited to have their picture taken – something they can then pass along to family and friends who may be concerned about their welfare.

There is also a morning set aside early in the month where people can come together in the dining room and write out Christmas cards to send to their loved ones.

A little closer to Christmas there is carol-singing (led by talented staff musicians and singers – see picture), bingo, movies and cookie decorating.

A highlight for many is our annual Christmas dinner – being held this year on December 22 – when we expect to serve more than 2400 turkey dinners with all the trimmings.

And, of course, on Christmas Eve there is a special Chapel service for anyone who would like to attend – and it’s always packed.

All of these activities are made possible by the heartfelt hard work of our staff and volunteers and the generosity of our donors. You all bring gifts of hope to those who often feel forgotten at this special time of year. Thank you.