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Last updated: December 18, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. ET

This information pertains to CityKidz Hamilton only.
For information on our Ottawa or Regina branches please contact them directly.

CityKidz Christmas Programs during COVID-19

What do you need to know?

As of Monday, December 21st at 12:01am, the Ontario government has moved Hamilton into the Grey – Lockdown zone with stringent measures and restrictions to control COVID-19 transmission. CityKidz is diligent in following the news, and always seeks to adhere to the highest level of safety and precaution while maintaining a commitment to our mission. With each set of restrictions, we have decided to respond by determining what we can do and maximizing our impact within the restrictions, guidelines and recommendations that are given.

While our regular programming was cancelled in March, we have been providing an alternative program experience in line with provincial and municipal guidelines since September.

With our city’s move into lockdown, we have closed our office to the public. Only essential staff will be on site.

CityKidz Christmas Programs

As we wrap up our programming for the year, we look forward to continuing to share, celebrate and connect with our CityKidz children and families in the new year.

Home Visits: Until Hamilton returns to the Orange – Restrict zone, we will be making weekly connection calls to all our families in place of our in-person home visits.

Virtual Programming: New, interactive video content featuring games, challenges and adventures with the CityKidz cast will be regularly updated to BigRedBus.ca in the new year!

Gift Delivery: To ensure every child received their presents safely before Christmas, gift deliveries took place November 28th and December 5th in conjunction with our Saturday Visits. For more information, please read our Early Gift Delivery FAQ.

Christmas Spectacular: Our production team has been working on a special virtual Christmas Eve celebration that we will be sharing with all our CityKidz children and youth on YouTube.

Please check here or visit us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for updates about our programs. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Laura Carmichael, Associate Executive Director: laura@citykidz.ca / 905-544-3996 Ext. 212 

Early Gift Delivery FAQ

The heart behind our Gift of Christmas campaign is to make the season merry and bright and show vulnerable children that they are loved.

Our goal is to make Christmas wishes come true for our CityKidz children while ensuring the continued health and safety of our kids, families, volunteers, staff and community.

Why did CityKidz deliver Christmas gifts so early this year?

As we observed new cases of COVID-19 and government restrictions rapidly increase over the past few weeks, we worried that, if we continued with our original program schedule, we might not be able to deliver gifts to all our children in time for Christmas.

To ensure every child received their gifts safely, we moved up our scheduled gift and food deliveries to November 28th and December 5th.

How did CityKidz deliver gifts safely given the ongoing pandemic?

Our goal was to fulfil our Gift of Christmas mission to make the season merry and bright for our CityKidz children while keeping everyone in our community safe.

In light of this goal and concern for the health and safety of our community:

  • Our facilities were closed to the public.
  • Staff required to be on-site continued to follow our policies and procedures concerning physical distancing, PPE, sanitization and other public health guidelines concerning health and safety.
  • Toy donation drop-offs were contactless and by appointment only.
  • We minimized the number of people who came in contact with gifts by eliminating volunteer gift wrapping and allowing all wrapped gifts to sit for 72 hours before delivery.

What will happen to toys that are donated after December 5th?

It’s our top priority to make sure that your toy donations go to kids in our community, just as you intended. Any toys that we receive after December 5th will be put to good use!

Typically, most toys for our Gift of Christmas campaign are donated to us throughout December. In order to expedite our Christmas gift delivery, we will be using toys that are normally set aside for our children’s birthdays throughout the year. Any toys donated after December 5th will be used to replenish this supply and celebrate our children in 2021.

What will happen to money donated after December 5th?

Because of the expedited nature of this year’s gift delivery, we will need to divert funds from other programs and projects in order to purchase toys (that would have otherwise been donated) in time to get them safely to our children before Christmas.

Monetary gifts received after December 5th will be used to replenish the financial resources diverted from our other programs (such as youth mentorship and our pop-up programming) in order to buy gifts. They will also be used to cover additional expenses related to the Gift of Christmas campaign including a tasty lunch for all our kids and a virtual celebration on December 24th.

If financial donations exceed the campaign goal, funds will be directed to the next greatest program need.

Procedures

The health and safety of our community is our primary concern. With the direction of Public Health Ontario and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, we have prepared policies that will keep our kids, families, volunteers, staff, and community safe. We will continue to review directives from the Chief Medical Officer of Health in order to ensure our policies and procedures are up to date.

About COVID-19

Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, should contact their primary care provider, local public health unit, or Telehealth (1-866-797-0000).

For more information on how to protect yourself and your community from getting and spreading COVID-19, please visit hamilton.ca/coronavirus.

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