1. How does someone apply for help from the Caring and Sharing Exchange for a food hamper or a redeemable gift certificate?

You register through one of the 300+ agencies that we work with: If you are currently a client of a social service organization such as a food bank outlet, Community Resource Centre, or if you receive social assistance or ODSP, are a member of a faith community, or have a child in day care or school, contact that organization and ask to be referred. You can also call 2-1-1 (not 613 first, just 2-1-1) and tell them what area of the city you live in. They will provide you with the contact information of an organization near you that does intake for the Caring and Sharing Exchange for food, school supplies and/or toys from the Toy Centre (during the holidays). When? The referral process for Christmas assistance starts in early October. The referral process for school supplies begins in May.

  1. How does someone apply for toys from the Toy Centre (Toy Mountain)?

You can apply for toy assistance from the Salvation Army Toy Centre (Toy Mountain) in the same way you apply for assistance from the Caring and Sharing Exchange. (see #1 above)

  1. Can we donate food, school supplies and toys to the Caring and Sharing Exchange to give to those in need?

Most of the assistance provided by the Caring and Sharing Exchange is in the form of a redeemable gift-voucher, which is mailed directly to the client. During the holidays, we provide around 250 to 300 hampers to clients who are unable to do their own shopping. However, over the years we have found that it is more economical and efficient if we purchase the food directly from the supplier. So monetary donations go much further!

To donate food please contact the Ottawa Food Bank at 613-745-7001. If you wish to donate a full hamper of food, please contact us. You can donate toys to the Salvation Army Toy Centre through the many Toy Mountain outlets in the local malls and the TD/Canada Trust branches, as well as at the Ottawa Santa Claus parade. You can also call 2-1-1 and they will refer you to other organizations who take food, clothes, toys, etc. Remember, by providing help to these organizations, you will be effectively removing clients from our list at Caring and Sharing, allowing our funds to go much further.

  1. How much does a food hamper cost?

The average cost of a food hamper given in Ottawa (based on a survey of all organizations that provide hampers) is $100.

  1. What is in a food hamper?

A food hamper is a box of food containing everything needed to make a traditional Christmas dinner. The Caring and Sharing Exchange hampers contain: a can peas or beans; canned corn; canned cranberries; boxed stuffing; instant coffee; tea bags; hot chocolate; chocolate candy; fruitcake or seasonal cookies; butter; carrots; potatoes; onions; bread; milk; biscuit mix. A small hamper (for 1 and 2 people) also contains a chicken. A medium hamper (3 to 5 people) contains a turkey. Larger hampers (6 or more people) contain a turkey and chicken, an extra loaf of bread and litre of milk, and a bag of rice.

  1. Can I put together a food hamper and deliver it to someone on your list who needs it?

Yes you can. Please visit our Sponsor-a-hamper page for more details.

  1. How do people qualify to receive a food hamper or gift certificate from the Caring and Sharing Exchange?

Clients are referred to the Caring and Sharing Exchange by other social service organizations and we take their word for it that the client is in need. Some of them ask their clients to fill out a needs survey.

Any other questions? Please send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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