It’s that time of year again at House of Friendship – time to share holiday joy with some of Kitchener and Waterloo’s most vulnerable residents and distribute our Christmas hampers. Every year, some 4,000 Christmas hampers are lovingly packed by hundreds of volunteers who give the gift of their time. They end up giving so much more. They give compassion and dignity, and hope for a better future.

It’s a truly beautiful experience serve at one of our “Turkey Trucks”, which ensure that families get that extra special touch that means so much every Christmas – a turkey. Thanks to the support of the Kitchener-Conestoga Rotary Club, which raised an amazing $380,000 last year, every family that receives a Christmas hamper also receives a turkey or halal chicken for their holiday celebrations.

Dozens of volunteers stand outside these turkey trucks for hours every year, regardless of the weather, distributing frozen turkeys to the men, women, and children who need their support. Each family has a story, and it’s a privilege to hear some of them as we hand out turkeys, recipe books and aluminum roasting pans.

It’s humbling to realize that none of this could happen without the support of the entire community.  Donations come from throughout Waterloo Region, and volunteers from all walks of life – retirees, business people, school children – come together to help others.

When we work together like this, we show our strength as a community. We are stronger together – and everyone gets to be part of the blessing of giving, making the season just a little bit brighter.