“We have two days that are good for the economy. Now we have a day that is good for the community too.” (http://givingtuesday.ca/)

The day after Black Friday, it’s easy to believe that this weekend really is the kick-off of the holiday spending season, but did you know that December also happens to be characterized to the highest amount of charitable giving? Whether it’s shoppers guilt or true kind heartedness, Vancouverites really take it upon themselves to donate their time and money at this time of year.

Enter “Giving Tuesday”, a Canadian movement set to launch this Tuesday, December 1st. Giving Tuesday is meant to promote and celebrate the start of the giving season; like Black Friday, it’s a marketing initiative, allowing charities a perfect platform to make some noise. In celebration of this idea, we’ve put together a list of local charities that would make great candidates for Giving Tuesday:

1. Family Services of the North Shore–Christmas Bureau

This annual holiday campaign facilitates the creation and distribution of Christmas hampers, filled to the brim with toys, gifts and grocery cards, to low income families across the north shore. The Christmas Bureau is run entirely on the the support of community members via the Sponsor a Family Program, financial donations, in-kind donations and the support of  volunteers.

2. North Shore Rescue

North Shore Rescue is a volunteer-based Mountain Search and Rescue Team that provides ~100 search & rescue operations annually. While the team receives some funding from the province, they are always in need of individual and corporate/club financial donations in order to cover their immediate operational, maintenance and training needs. For those looking to make a bigger impact–particularly if you also love the north shore outdoors and are physically fit–why not consider volunteering on the team? For more info, click here.

3. Harvest Project

This local organization focuses on reaching out to individuals and families on the north shore who are in need of coaching, counsel, grocery and clothing support, and/or emergency drop-in help. Harvest Project prides itself on “extending a hand up, not a hand out,” with an aim on breaking down barriers that perpetuate cycles of poverty in our community. The organization invites community members to get involved on various levels, whether through donations (e.g., financial, services, products), by running your own fundraising campaign, or by volunteering.

4. North Shore Women’s Centre

North Shore Women’s Centre is a wonderful resource and safe space for women in the community who are in need of advice, programs, or support. The centre is particularly committed to providing support for women who have experienced violence in any capacity, but welcome women of all backgrounds and needs within the space. In addition to financial donations, North Shore Women’s Centre is always happy to accept warm winter clothes, books, toiletries, non-perishable foods, and small gifts for women and children. For more info on donating to the centre, becoming a member, or volunteering, click here.

5. Music Heals

Music Heals is a local charitable foundation that raising funds for accredited music therapist programs in communities across BC. On the North Shore, this rock-star foundation supports Mountainside Secondary’s music therapy program, as well as has an iPod Pharmacy–a campaign that collects old iPods for music therapy–being managed by the Capilano University music therapy students. Check out the Music Heals Website for further details on the iPod Pharmacy, and how to donate or volunteer with the team.