All month long, we are holding a food and winter clothing drive to ensure youth in need are well-fed, warm, and dry this season. The drive will benefit various YMCA programs, in particular homeless and street-involved youth who come through our Vanauley Street YMCA, and YMCA Sprott House programs.
In Toronto, about 2,000 youth are homeless on any given night.
Street-involved individuals are particularly vulnerable to the impact of extreme weather as they are exposed to cold and wet conditions, often with inadequate clothing, for extended periods of time. That’s why reaching out to the community for clothing donations is vital at this time of year.
Also, in these harsh conditions, proper nutrition can go a long way in providing the strength needed to take on the winter season. Healthy non-perishable foods will provide warm and hearty meals at Vanauley St. YMCA and for communal Sunday dinners at YMCA Sprott House.
“As the weather gets colder, we see an increase in requests for coats, hats, boots, gloves, etc. from homeless and street-involved youth across our programs,” says Louise Smith, YMCA of Greater Toronto General Manager of Youth Intervention & Outreach.
“Last year was an amazing year for giving — we had at least 50 bags of donated clothing, and we went through it all. With this year’s clothing and food drive, we want to help even more youth both keep warm and get a healthy meal.”
Our Housing Programs
Vanauley St. YMCA is a shelter with drop-in and outreach programs, as well as support services that help youth aged 16–24 get back on their feet. Youth not only have a roof over their heads, they also have access to employment programs, counselling, healthcare, legal advice, and housing support. YMCA Sprott House is a transitional housing program which provides one year of supportive residential living for up to 25 LGBTQ2SA young people between the ages of 16 to 24.
How to donate
From December 1 to the 31, you can drop off your donation items at the following locations:
- Vanauley St. YMCA – 7 Vanauley St. (near Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave.)
- Central YMCA – 20 Grosvenor St. (near Yonge and Wellesley streets)
- West End YMCA – 931 College St. (at College and Dovercourt streets)
- Cooper Koo Family YMCA – 461 Cherry St. (at Cherry St. and Front St. E.)
- Markham YMCA – 101 YMCA Boulevard
What to give
Most needed items:
- Winter coats and jackets
- Hats, gloves and scarves
- Winter boots
- Warm clothing (sweaters, long sleeves, sweat pants, etc.)
- New socks
Suggested food items:
- Canned foods (vegetables, fruit, legumes, meats, soups, etc.)
- Grains (pasta, rice, oats, etc.)
- Dried fruit
- Peanut butter
- Condiments and seasonings