Holiday Spirit Gift Boxes | Red Door Family Shelter

You can help families get back on their feet and start again. Many families arrive at our shelter with little other than the clothes on their backs. By donating gift boxes of essential items for women and children you can make a difference when they arrive at the shelter or are moving out and starting a new home.

We encourage you to box or package items according to these categories:
Gift Boxes

Winter Wear – jackets, boots, hats, mitts & scarves, snow pants
Clothing – socks, underwear, sweaters, jeans and pants (for all ages and genders)
Toiletries – body wash, lufas, lotion, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, women’s hygiene etc.
Kitchen – department store gift cards, cutlery, kitchen knife sets, plates, kettles, small appliances (toaster, microwave, blender, coffee maker, etc.)
Bed and Bath – department store gift cards, sheets, towels, kids bedding
Baby – clothing, formula, diapers & supplies
Teen – gift cards (itunes, mall gift cards, etc.), age appropriate toys, books, toiletries/make-up, hair accessories
Food – grocery store gift cards, non-perishable food
Toys – age appropriate toys for children 0 – 12

All items must be new and unwrapped. Boxes or baskets can be wrapped with clear cellophane.

If you are interested in this program please contact our Holiday Giving Coordinator at or 416-915-5671 x234.


1) Are there any items I should avoid donating?
Please avoid gifts that may be deemed as violent as many of our families are survivors of violence or war (e.g. War toys, replica guns).

Please avoid donating used items at this time of the year. We will begin accepting used items as of January 26th, 2015.

2) Are tax receipts available for donations?
Tax receipts will not be provided for in-kind donations. Only financial gifts of $20 or more are eligible for tax receipts.

3) What is the latest date that I can drop off gifts?
Last day for drop off of gifts: Monday December 15th, 2014.

Drop off Location: Red Door Family Shelter—Administrative Office
21 Carlaw Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4M 2R6
Drop off hours: 9:00am—6:00pm

Holiday Spirit Gift Boxes | Red Door Family Shelter.


September/October Update

This September we’ve been quite busy checking out some Oakville real estate, walking around the town, seeing the locations of schools, malls etc.  It’s exciting to think that in a year or so we will own our first house together! We’re probably more excited about this than our wedding 🙂  Finally we will have some outdoor space for a dog, and enough indoor room for a larger one if we choose to get a Bernese or a breed around that size.  James has never owned a dog before, so we will have to do the training together of course! Some people tell us that raising a dog is a lot of work, which is very true, but anything in life worth having is worth working for right?  I grew up always having a dog around, so I know how much they can change your life for the better 🙂

The temporary St. Jacobs market is up and running, with about sixty percent of their vendors returned.  We asked a man who worked there when the new permanent structure would be up, and he said they would “break ground” in November of this year but no date on when they would finish.  The only vendors which seemed to be missing were some of the jewelry, quilts and crafting. All veggie/fruit, meat and cheese vendors were back and seemed to be doing very well!

We haven’t made any huge strides in our wedding planning as of yet, but did go for our cake tasting and decided on our wedding invitations 🙂  The small and large details of a wedding can add up rather quickly, and before you know it you’re over your head (and over your budget!). James and I tend to be very like-minded, especially when it comes to finances, so we decided to just keep things simple and concentrate on what the day is really about.. looveee and marriage!  Of course we want everyone to have a wonderful time, but so many “special touches” are just frivolous and a waste of money (in our opinion). Sometimes we wish we had just eloped, or gone to city hall. Too late now, IT’S ON!

One of my dearest and oldest buds invited us over to play this boardgame called Twilight Imperium, which is this epic 5 to 8-hour-long game of galactic conflict where you take the role of one of seventeen ancient civilizations and try to seize the imperial throne through trade, warfare, allegiances, technological advances, etc! It is just an insane game, which requires lots of pee breaks and snacks galore. We had a blast and want to do it all over again! It reminds me of the video game Mass Effect if you have ever played that.  Sci-fi everything is my jam.


Both of my parents’ Birthdays are in October, so there are usually party decorations up for the entire month.  I took my Mom out to her favourite Greek restaurant and bought her some nice winter boots.  My Dad prefers for me to cook him a dinner of his choice, which I really like! I don’t normally get to bust out my Cordon Bleu chef skills, so it’s nice to make something fancy once in a while.  Jamesy and I took him to see Cirque du Soleil which he hadn’t ever seen before; he said that he will never forget it.  Next year we are planning on taking both of my parents; maybe it will become an annual tradition!


In our ongoing quest to simplify our lives and concentrate on mindfulness, we attended two of Ajahn Brahm’s public talks. The first was at the UofT Earth Sciences Centre where the topic was “Why practice self-compassion?”. The second was at the Toronto Mahavihara where the topic was “Sublime Abidings (brahmaviharas): Loving-kindness,compassion, altruistic joy and equanimity”. Ajahn Brahm is so warm and personable, and teaches mostly by telling stories of his or other’s experiences. He attended Cambridge to study theoretical physics, and after graduating and teaching for a year, he decided to travel to Thailand to become a monk and train with Ajahn Chah who was an influential teacher of the Buddhadhamma. His talks can range from speaking on meditation and Buddhism, to self-help topics and gender equality and the empowerment of women in Theravada Buddhism.  He doesn’t visit Toronto too often, but anytime he does we will try to see him!


James is thinking about starting his own Buddhism and meditation blog soon, so I may set one up for him in a few weeks!