Homeless kids make hand-crafted holiday gifts at Covenant House

TORONTO, ON, Dec. 20, 2012 – For many homeless kids at Covenant House youth shelter, their hand-made Christmas crafts are the only gifts they’ll have to give.

Young people in the agency’s high school workshop are busy putting the finishing touches on angel and snowman ornaments and painted candle holders.

Like all of us, homeless kids long for the magic of Christmas. Craft-making with their peers helps kids feel a sense of community and kindles the holiday spirit. The young people may give their creations to the workers who look after them, to someone else who is special in their lives or save them as keepsakes, our teachers say.

“The holidays can be the hardest time of year for homeless kids who are often without family or loved ones,” says Covenant House Executive Director Bruce Rivers. “At Covenant House, we try to make the Christmas season as much like the kind of home most of us are fortunate to enjoy.”

Every night as many as 122 young people can find safe shelter at the downtown agency while every day, dozens more turn to its drop-in services for help.

“Many of these young people will spend Christmas with us because they simply have nowhere else to go,” Rivers says. He notes that most homeless youth have fled or been forced out of homes where there is abuse or neglect.

The agency provides kids with the basics – good meals, warm clothes and safe shelter.

“When kids don’t have to worry about how they’re going to find their next meal or where they’re going to sleep, they can start to focus on their futures,” Rivers says. Then, they can find the support and services they need like education, job assistance and job training, to help them build better futures, he explains.

 To do all of this, Covenant House relies on donors for more than 80 percent of its almost $19-million annual operating budget.

Contact: Rose Cino
Manager, Communications
(416) 204-7081

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70% of homeless youth are fleeing homes with abuse and neglect

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