Frequently Asked Questions

Shopping for a Family' Wish List

Q. I have sponsored a family. What am I required to buy?

A. When you sponsor a family, you will be sent a wishlist that is specific to an approved family in this year's program. It will include all their names, ages, gender, a brief bio, the size of clothing, and any household and toy items requested by the family. You are NOT required to buy all the items on a wishlist, however, the minimum required items are: winter coat, hats, mittens and scarf for each person (if on the wishlist), along with at least two toys for each child, a $100 grocery gift card for the families holiday meal and two household items for mom/dad/caregiver from their list.

If you and/or your group are not able to meet the minimum requirement, PLEASE let our donation team know in advance and we will supplement the package with additional items. You can email our Donation Team at

Q. How much should I spend? And what size of family should I register for?

A. We recommend budgeting $175 plus tax for each family member, plus $100 grocery gift card for the family's holiday meal The minimum package we request is a winter coat, hats, mittens, scarf, two household items, two toys for each child. For example, the minimum budget for a family of 3 people would be $525 for the gifts + a $100 grocery gift card. 

If sponsoring a family seems more than your budget for you or your group, we have many other affordable donation options to meet every budget. Click here to donate towards a portion of a family's Christmas package.

Q. Where should I shop?

A. Feel free to shop wherever you choose however, we do recommend shopping at affordable stores like Walmart, Old Navy and Stitches. Our families are typically shopping at these stores so if an exchange is needed, they can easily do so.

Q. Should I get a gift receipt? Where do I put the receipts for the family?

A. YES PLEASE! Please ask the cashier for gift receipts and include them in a sealed envelope marked with the family number we will provide. Tape the marked envelope to the outside of the box or bag where it can be seen. The gift receipts will be given to the family caregiver in case any exchanges are necessary.

It is very important to mark the envelope with the gift receipts in it with the family number you are provided on the wish list so that the receipts can be tracked if the envelop drops off the bag.

Q. Should I wrap the gifts?

A. NO. We have a team of elves that are lined up and ready to wrap your gifts. If the gifts come wrapped, we will have to unwrap (for safety and quality control) and rewrap them. Absolutly NO used items in the package. Our families only receive new items.

Remember to fill in the Mandatory Donation Tracking Form indicating the gifts you purchased for each family member.

Q. What do I do with gift cards?

A. Every family loves gift cards! If you have purchased gift cards for a family, please mark on each card (sticky note is fine) who it is for. Place all the gift cards with the gift receipts inside a sealed envelope marked with the family number. Tape the sealed envelope to the outside of the box or bag where it can be easily seen.

It is very important to mark the envelope with the family number.

Q. Does that family we sponsored get told who we are?

A. NO. Your information is kept private as is the family's information. If you would like to include a note to the family, feel free. But for security and safety reasons, DO NOT include ANY personal contact info (including phone number, address, last name, or email). Unfortunately, if there is contact info from the donor it will not be delivered to the family.

Q. How do we get the gifts to the family?

A. All the gifts MUST be dropped off to one of our drop-off locations by December 5, where they are inspected, wrapped and boxed for delivery. A volunteer driver will deliver the entire package to the family approximately one week before Christmas. For security and safety reasons, we do not allow a donor to deliver the presents to the family they sponsored.

Present Drop-Off/Pick-Up

Q. Where do I drop my presents off?

     2018 to be confirmed.

Q. What is the deadline for drop-offs?

A. The deadline for present drop-offs is to be confirmed for 2018..

Q. I'm ready to drop-off my presents. What do I do now?

A. Simply package all the items into big boxes to keep them all together. We do not recommend the fancy holiday paper bags as they often break and tip over. It does help to separate the items and gifts for each person so that we can easily wrap and mark the presents for the right person. Please ensure the Mandatory Donation Tracking Form is included with your package. It also helps to number your packages as 1 out of 3, 2 out of 3, etc.

You can keep your envelope of gift receipts and gift cards taped to the outside of package #1. Please clearly mark on each box and bag the family number.

Q. How do I use the Mandatory Donation Tracking Form?

You must fill the form out in the PDF we provide and submit it online, plus print a copy to include in your package. The PDF is sent via e-mail to our donors.

If you are a returning Wish List sponsor, this form will look a little different then last year. We are now asking Wish List donors to provide an approximate value of all donated goods. For each family member, please list off the items purchased and an approximate dollar value. A few tips:

• Please group like items together. For example, if you purchased 2 pairs of pants please provide an approximate value for both pairs combined
• The approximate value is the purchase price, rounded to the nearest dollar
• For items under $10, group together and provide a total value
Be sure to include the Mandatory Donation Tracking Form, an envelope that includes gift receipts and gift cards, use durable boxes and bags and clearly mark your family # on each package! Reminder: we do not accept any wrapped packages.

You must have Adobe Reader in order to fill out the tracking form online. Please use this download link if you do not have it: Once you're on the page, click "Install Now." It only takes a couple of minutes to download, and works for all computer types.

Q. Can someone pick up my presents?

A. Holiday Helpers is a small charity and we are unable to pick-up presents from every donor. Please deliver the presents off at one of our convenient drop-off locations throughout the GTA. We will have our drop-off locations confirmed by November 1, 2018. If you are unable to drop-off the items at one of our drop-off locations by the deadline, please email to make alternative arrangements.

Q. Will I get a tax receipt?

A. We are unable to provide a tax receipt for presents or in-kind gifts. We are able to provide a gift receipt for cash donations only.

Q. Can I donate used items?

A. NO. All the items given to the family are new items. Goodwill or Value Village will gladly accept your donation of used clothing and other items. We are unable to take ANY used items.

Q. Can I donate food?.

The Daily Bread Food Bank and other local food banks will gladly accept your donation of canned and non-perishable foods. We are unable to take ANY food donations.

Q. Can I donate a Christmas tree?

A. Holiday Helpers has already secured each family with a brand new artificial tree along with all the trimmings. We buy everything in bulk to secure the best pricing possible. We are unable to take ANY used Christmas Trees

Q. Can I donate towards their Christmas dinner or tree?

A. Absolutely! If your group has raised additional funds or you would like to make a cash donation, it will be put in the family's Christmas package. The Christmas dinner & tree package is $250 (but any amount helps!) and covers the cost of their artificial Christmas tree, decorations and $125 gift certificate for their Christmas dinner. Cheques are made payable to "Holiday Helpers Canada". Place it in a sealed envelope with your other paperwork. For more info on making a monetary donation, please contact our Donation Team at

Q. Who are the Partner Organizations that refer families?

A. All of the families in the Holiday Helpers program are referred to us through one of our partner charities. Some of the organizations we have partnered with for 2018 include: Red Door Shelter, Ernestine's Women's Shelter, Nellie's Shelter for Women & Children, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, Braeburn Neighbourhood Place, Aisling Discoveries-Child and Family Centre, The Church of St. Jude, Wexford, Christie Refugee Welcome Centre, York Region Victim Services, Fred Victor, Skylark Youth, Toronto District School Board, Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board. Building Up, Warden Woods Community Centre, Seventh Generation Midwives Toronto, Downsview Legal Community Services-Lawrence Heights, Sojourn House.

Q. How can I have my family sponsored?

A. Families in need of Holiday Helpers Canada Christmas packages must currently be members of at least one of our Partner Agencies to apply. These agencies have all pre-registered with Holiday Helpers and on behalf of approved families will forward the application directly to Holiday Helpers Canada. Email and phone requests are no longer accepted

Q. I do not live in the Greater Toronto Area. Can I still apply for the Holiday Helpers program?

A. No, we are a small charity and only deliver to families within the GTA, including Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga, East York, North York, Scarborough.

Q. My family was sponsored by Holiday Helpers in the past. Can I apply again?

A. Unfortunately no. Holiday Helpers provides a one-time donation. Our mission is to help as many families as possible so we can only sponsor a family once.