Thank you to our amazing community of supporters who rallied together in 2019 to provide a special Christmas for 1,268 families, which included 2,821 children and youth in total! It would not be possible to meet the growing need in our community without your help!  

Our Donor sign-up opens in October 2020 for the holiday season. In the meantime, we do accept gift cards and monetary donations all year long to prepare for the upcoming season. Or you can read below about the ways you can support families this fall. Please note: the information below will be updated in September 2020, so may change at that time.  

How You Can Help

There are many ways you can provide support and hope for local families in the Guelph and Wellington County (Ontario) area during the Christmas season. Below is some information to help you decide what option(s) would be best for you. We are also happy to speak with you in the fall to help you decide what would be best to do. Call us at 519.829.0855 or email

1.  Adopting: a Family (Primary or Caregiver) or an Independent Youth 

a)  Primary family - Our recommendation is that you provide:

  • A selection of items from each child's needs and wishes lists (5 needs & 5 wishes are provided) that are within your budget. Based on past experience with donors, we estimate the average spent per child-youth is:
    • $125-$150 - infants & toddlers
    • $175-$200 - school-age
    • $200-$250 - pre-teens & teens
  • Grocery gift cards: we recommend $100 for families of 1-4 people and $25 per person above four. Example: a family of six = $150.
  • A small, token gift for parent(s)/guardian(s) (approx. value $25 per)

For example of the range: estimated average spent when adopting a single-parent with one child is $300-$325 and a larger family such as a two-parent family with six children is $1,350-$1,450. 

b) Caregiver family: We define a Caregiver family as either the non-primary parent or grandparent(s) who will have their children/grandchildren at Christmas and cannot afford to provide a gift or holiday meal. Our recommendation is that you provide:

  • One gift item per child - you will be provided with some suggestions.
  • Grocery gift cards: same as a primary family, we recommend $100 for caregiver families of 1-4 people and $25 per person above four.
  • A small, token gift for parent(s)/guardian(s) (approx. value $25 per)

c) Independent Youth: We define an Independent Youth as someone up to and including the age of 20 years old who is living on their own without family ties and with limited support and resources. We estimate, based on past experience, that the average spent when adopting an independent youth is approximately $400-$450. Again, this is dependent on what they are asking for, but as they are living on their own, they often have a great need for household items, clothing and other such things.


2.  Purchasing Grocery and/or Gift Cards

Gift cards for groceries, drugstores, shopping malls, and department stores are very much needed and are another great way to support the Adopt-A-Family program in an easy and convenient way. We use gift cards to help supplement where needed and to help with the later, emergency family referrals that we cannot adopt out. In 2019, we used over $40,000 in donated grocery and gift cards to help families.

We are happy to accept the donation of grocery and gift cards at any time through the year to prepare for the upcoming season.

CLICK HERE for more information about purchasing grocery and/or gift cards.  


3.  Making a Cash Donation

Cash donations help us to off-set funds spent to ensure that every child receives gifts for the holidays and that every family has the grocery cards they need to enjoy a healthy, holiday meal. This includes emergency last-minute family referrals that we are not able to adopt out to a donor due to the timing. Cash donations also help to pay for "Santa's Supplies", because Santa also needs wrapping paper and bows! 

CLICK HERE to donate securely online (select Adopt-A-Family on the drop-down menu for donation allocation). If you would prefer to make your donation in person, via mail or over the phone, please contact us at: The Children's Foundation of Guelph and Wellington - 87 Waterloo Ave - Guelph, ON - N1H 3H6.  Email our Finance Manager  or call 519-826-9551 ext 26. 


4.  Purchasing a Special Item

This is a great option for donors with less time to shop. These are much-needed and special gifts for a family or child, such as bikes and items for infants like car seats, high chairs, etc. An online registry of special item gifts will be available at Donor sign-up time. See Price Guidelines for special items. 


5.  Holding a Gift Drive or donating individual gifts for the Santa Store

Businesses or community groups may be interested in holding a gift drive, which helps us to stock our "Santa Store" so we can make sure every youth receives a good selection of their needs and wishes and that the family's caregiver (e.g. parent) has something to open on Christmas morning. A well-stocked store also means we can meet the urgent needs of last-minute referrals. In 2019, we filled 76 emergency referrals in the 10 days leading up to Christmas. 

Individuals may also wish to hold a drive with family and friends or to donate gifts themselves to the Santa Store.

You can view our Gift Drive package by Clicking Here - includes a list of suggested drives, most-wanted toys and gift items, suggested book list, and more. 


Donor FAQs

Your outstanding questions may be addressed in our FAQ section.