How to Adopt-A-Family at Christmas in the Greater Toronto Area – Updated 2023

Have you ever thought about adopting a family for Christmas? You may have seen an adoptive family program online or heard through friends who have adopted a family for Christmas but not known where to start. This post is going to give you some tips on how to have a successful adopt a family this Christmas.

I have been adopting families at Christmas for over 15 years now. I started when I was in university. Now you may think the University student adopting a family how does that work? It worked because I took a chance, I wanted to give back to my community and I started small.

And you can adopt a family for Christmas too.  You can also give back to your community all year long by donating, find out where to donate baby and kids items.

You may be interested in other Christmas Content: Where to Find Santa in the GTA, Christmas Parades, Family Friendly Christmas Movies, Family Friendly Christmas Events in the GTA, Christmas Light Displays, Christmas Drive Thru Light Shows, and How to Adopt a family for Christmas.

How to Adopt-A-Family at Christmas in the Greater Toronto Area

I know this time of year there’s so many different organizations that are collecting toys and gifts it can almost feel like that everything is already taken care of. However the truth is the need is out there to help support those in our community, and adopting a family is a great way to make a direct impact. By adopting a family you are giving them what they NEED for Christmas, not making a guess or buying a generic gift.


Here are some tips for adopting a family this Christmas

Adopting-a-Family for Christmas – It’s not as hard as you think

The biggest step in deciding to adopt a family is actually making the decision to do it. It can be intimidating to think about taking on something as important as Christmas for another family. We can psych ourselves out by thinking that what we can give won’t be enough or it will be too much work and that’s just not the case. 

All of the organizations that I have worked with for the last 15+ years across many areas of Ontario have been fantastic to work with. The staff are so appreciative of the fact that you are willing to give back at Christmas and are happy to help out with any questions. So don’t let your mind get in the way of taking the first step and adopting a family for Christmas!

How to Adopt-A-Family at Christmas in Mississauga

Sponsor a Family for Christmas – Picking an organization

This is probably the most important step there are lots of organizations out there that run programs that allow you to sponsor a family for Christmas and we will outline several in the Greater Toronto Area in this post down below. It’s important because you need to pick an organization that fits with what you want to give back this Christmas.
Each organization will have their adopt-a-family program set up a little differently so it is important to ask questions while doing your research. Depending on the setup of the adopt-a-family program programs can vary from donation of gift cards to specific stores so the family can go shopping or buying individual gifts for family members from a wish list.
Ask about any requirements that the organization has as part of their adopt-a-family program.  For example some organizations request that if you adopt a family that you also provide non-perishable food items for that family in addition to gifts. Another organization I worked with in Toronto, requested that each family be provided with a gift card so that they could buy their own ingredients for a Christmas dinner.
Every organization that I have worked with, you have always been able to specify the size of the family you would like to adopt. This has ranged from a teenager who is estranged from their family, a single senior citizen, single parents, or families with children. If this is your first time adopting a family and you’re feeling a little bit nervous I would suggest starting small with an individual or a family of 2 and go from there.
Like I said each one can be a little different and find the one that fits with you and your family.  It is OK to look into a couple of programs to find the right fit.  For me I love shopping for a specific family and having their wish list for each member of the family and buying the actual gifts. I don’t mind dropping off donations directly to families, where is some people would rather drop off to the agency who will then get the items to the families.

Get friends and family involved in your Adopt a family for Christmas

When I started adopting a family 15 years ago I would never have been able to do it on my own. I was a university student working part time so let’s just say my budget was small. I took the leap of faith and I let my friends and family know that I was adopting a mother and daughter for Christmas that first year and asked if anyone would like to contribute either by buying an item off their wish list or giving me money to help with the shopping I was doing for the family. 

The response was nothing short of amazing, I had friends and family near and far stepping up to contribute. It doesn’t have to be big but all of it put together made for a wonderful Christmas for this family.  Adopting a family doesn’t need to be a solo act, put a post up on Facebook, let your co-workers know and together you can create a wonderful Christmas for families in need in your community.

Double up on your Christmas Shopping for Holiday Hamper for your Adopt-A-Family

The thought of doing even more Christmas shopping can seem overwhelming. Christmas is such a busy time already that you may think how could I possibly fit in shopping for another family. I have actually found that adopting a family helps me with my Christmas shopping because I am more organized because I know I need to get my shopping done in time to drop off to the family and I shop for my own family at the same time as I’m shopping for my adoptive family. 
Double up on your Christmas shopping and when shopping for gifts for your family cross reference with what you need for your Holiday Hamper for your adopt-a-family wish list and pick up both at the same time.

With Black Friday taking over Canada it’s easy to do a lot of your shopping online. The gifts can be delivered right to your front door without any hassle. My favorite places to shop tend to be Amazon and Walmart because of the good selection and low shipping cost. 

No matter where I shop I try to get a gift receipt when I can so that in case something is not the right size/item they will be able to exchange it.  If it is not really clear on the receipt what the item is for I will write on the back of it to clarify, then put them all in an envelope to give to the adopt-a-family.sponsor a fmaily for christmas brampton mississauga toronto

Is Donating to a Family for Christmas Worth It?


It’s probably no secret since I already let you know that I have been doing this for 15+ years that yes I think adopting a family at Christmas time is worth it! I love knowing that we are helping give a family a Christmas with items that they actually need and want rather than just random donations. When I have dropped off directly to the family they have always been so gracious and so kind.
From the family of 4 that lived in a small one-bedroom apartment who needed a bread maker as the mom of the family had dietary challenges and the bread that she could eat from the store was very expensive.
Or the family with 2 young children who as part of their wish list needed a Christmas tree, because every child deserves to have a Christmas tree in their home. Or the single mom who invited me in to her modest basement apartment for a cup of tea trying to apologize for the mess, when in reality her house was cleaner than mine. She was a young single mom going to school and raising her infant son who had health challenges and doing her best to keep her head above water.
I love that I can get my kids involved with the shopping so that they learn that giving back is so important from a young age.  I want to make sure I am helping to build the next generation of community builders so help keep our cities connected.

Where to Adopt-a-family for Christmas

Think adopting-a-family is the right fit for you?  Here are organizations you can reach out to to ask about their programs for donating to a family for Christmas in Brampton, Toronto or Mississauga.

Adopt A Family for Christmas Brampton

Knights Table – Donate to a family for Christmas in Brampton with the Knights Table.  Contact then by phone or email to learn about their program and be matched with a local family.
Ste. Louise Outreach – Contact this local food bank to be matched with a local Brampton family to be adopted for the Holidays
Links2Care – Halton Hills – Donate to a family in Halton Hills for Christmas via Links2Care Holiday Giving Sponsor is a simple way for individuals, families, community groups, co-workers, and businesses to make a difference and feel the true meaning of community this holiday season.
Santa for Seniors – Adopt a senior for the holiday season.  This program connects with senors in our community who need a little Christmas cheer.  From a new sweater, gloves, fresh towels the gifts that the seniors ask for are normally practical gifts to help them out during the year.  You may also find Christmas trees with tags with gift requests so you can pick which tags match your shopping preferences.  Then gifts are collected back by the organization and delivered prior to the holidays.

Adopt A Family for Christmas Toronto

Holiday Helpers –  Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga, Hamilton – Donate to a family for Christmas with Holiday Helpers,  a registered charity whose mission is to provide a one-time personalized Christmas package to low income families with young children who are trying to improve their circumstances. 
SickKids Hospital – Adopt a family for Christmas in Toronto and get matched with a family and shop for items to fill their Holiday Hampers
Hope For Children Fund – You can help provide a Merry Christmas to a youth or family in need by registering for the Hope for Children Adopt-A-Family Christmas Program. We will link you with a participating family or youth and provide you with gift giving guidelines and program information.
Society of Saint. Vincent De Paul – You have the option of adopting-a-family in Scarborough and creating a gift basket or providing a cask donation and the volunteers will create the basket for you.
Dixon Hall – This is the adopt-a-family program I had the longest relationship with when I did graduate school and worked in Toronto.  They were a well organized program, give Dixon Hall a call to find out more.
Moorelands Christmas Sharing – Moorelands Kids offers a uniquely personalized way for you to reach out to families in need. Through your sponsorship, Moorelands Kids will link you with newborn and mom who need your support.

Sponsor a Family for Christmas Mississauga

Shoebox Project – Make a difference on a smaller scale by filling a decorated shoebox with goodies and supplies for those in need.  Several drop off locations in Mississauga.
Be a Santa for Seniors – Home Instead Senior Care partners with local non-profit and community organizations to identify seniors who might not otherwise receive gifts this holiday season. The company then works with local businesses and retail stores to help facilitate the purchase and distribution of gifts by placing trees and ornaments within their various locations. Each senior’s gift requests are written on a Be a Santa to a Senior bulb.

Holiday Hamper Donation Organizations

Here are a few more options
Salvation Army – Family Sponsorships provide a food hamper for a family and new toys for the children.  A full family sponsorship is $250, however every donation is most appreciated.

YWCA Toronto -Your donation to YWCA Toronto’s Adopt-A-Family Fund will help them leverage discounted pricing so they can purchase individual gift cards that help women meet the needs of their families during the holiday season, including food, gifts, and warm winter clothing.


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1 thought on “How to Adopt-A-Family at Christmas in the Greater Toronto Area – Updated 2023”

  1. These days there are so many ways to give back,I think we should have adopt a family in all areas.I t just makes a person feel better inside to help others!

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