Where do you get the families from? How do you know they actually need help?
We partner with the Scarborough Center for Healthy Communities (SCHC). They are a registered charity that provides an enormous offering of services to Scarborough residents in need, including the Wishes for the Holiday Program. The SCHC has access to the families financial and housing information, and can ensure that there is a financial need. Toronto has the largest percentage of working adults living on “low incomes” – less than $20,000 per year – so there is no shortage of need, especially around the holidays. Futhermore, there is a registry for these types of baskets that many organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Good Will submit families to. This ensures that there is no overlap or double dipping.
Do you accept opened/used goods or wrapped toys?
Wrapped toys are fine, but we may open it a little to make sure its appropriate for the child who will receive it. Used or open goods are not accepted unless the used goods are in mint condition. For example, a ‘like-new’ winter jacket would be a lovely gift, but ripped torn old clothes are better for a charity that does textile recycling like variety village.
Can I give water guns/cap guns/war toys?
There is so much violence and hate in the world, we don’t want to spread any more around. If violent toys like guns, mini soldiers, tanks, punching bags etc. are donated we will give them back to the donor where possible, and pass them on to another charity when it’s not.
Do you ever work with families outside of Scarborough?
For sure. Scarborough is our main catchment area, but if there is a family in need outside of the area, give us a call and we will see if we can help or if there is someone local who would be a better fit.
Can I use this toward my high school community service hours?
Absolutely! We are happy to have you!
How did this get started?
Our Executive Director, Jenny Foster, was volunteering at a food bank and saw first hand the shortages that many families were facing as the holidays approached – more and more families in need, less and less available to give. So she sent an email to friends and family saying that she didn’t need another present that year, but instead would they consider sending some money so we could put together a basket for a family. With the wonder of human generosity and trust we raised over $1600 in cash and over $2000 in toys and food in that first year. And so West Hill Harvest was born. We have helped over 100 families and over 300 individuals, organizations and businesses to help make change in their community.