Our local gift guide is full of socially conscious goodies from across the GTA
Updated for 2023
Welcome to United Way Greater Toronto’s local gift guide, which is full of examples of how our work connects our neighbours to income, to jobs and, in some cases, to self-employment. Every gift on this list comes with a story: How the Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity initiative helped a mom in Scarborough start her own business. How a youth struggling to find a job got the training they needed thanks to a social enterprise. How art can help someone heal and find opportunities.
We hope you consider gifting one of these eclectic, unique and delicious offerings and get to know some of the organizations that we support. You won’t just be spreading the joy, you’ll be supporting your community too. Happy gifting!
LOCAL GIFT GUIDE
FoodShare gift boxes, gift cards and pantry items
United Way supports FoodShare through program funding and operating support, so they can continue to improve access to affordable, nutritious food across Toronto. FoodShare operates a fresh produce distribution social enterprise for household and wholesale customers in Toronto, with proceeds funding food justice work in schools, on urban farms, at produce markets and more.
View their gift cards, gift boxes and pantry items online. Place orders by Dec. 15 to have boxes delivered between Dec. 20 to Dec 22. Quantities are limited. Contact email@example.com or 416-363-6441 ext. 276 for questions and orders.
Goodness Gift gift boxes
Run by SAAAC – South Asian Autism Awareness Centre, Goodness Gift is an employment social enterprise supported by TEF, a United Way initiative dedicated to creating training and employment opportunities for people facing barriers to the labour market. Goodness Gift sells socially conscious gift boxes that directly support training and employment for people with exceptionalities. Goodness Gift Boxes include holiday gift boxes, wellness boxes and home boxes in a range of price points.
ILEO Holiday Market
ILEO’s Storefront Starter Golden Mile pilot program supports up-and-coming Scarborough-based entrepreneurs to build their businesses and contribute to a vibrant local retail environment in the Greater Golden Mile. For the second year, RioCan will host ILEO entrepreneurs at a holiday market at the Yonge Eglinton Centre, featuring all-natural body lotion by Untainted Bath & Body Care, hand-embroidered clothing and décor from Hana and Hala, customizable pride pins by Pin-Ace, natural products made from sea moss by Organically You, wellness items from Agape Company (Agape) and homemade Mexican food by Otomii.
The ILEO Holiday Market runs from December 14 to 17 at the Yonge Eglinton Centre, 2300 Yonge Street. Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Sunday 12-5 p.m.
Inspirations Studio Pottery Shop
For over 27 years, hundreds of women have walked through the doors of Inspirations Studio to learn how to make pottery in a safe, supportive and transformational environment. Today the studio is part of YWCA, one of United Way’s funded agencies, and continues to improve the emotional and mental well-being of its members while providing them with the opportunity to earn supplemental income through the sale of their unique ceramics.
Visit their storefront at 389 Church St., Toronto, Tuesday-Friday, 12-5 p.m.; Thursdays, 12-6 p.m.
Eva’s Print Shop
Buy a holiday card bundle from Eva’s, a full-service digital printer supporting youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This United Way-supported organization provides youth with training opportunities and work, preparing them for employment in the graphic and print sectors. All their holiday cards are designed by youth working at the organization.
Native Canadian Centre of Toronto’s Cedar Basket Gift Shop
United Way partners with the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto (NCCT) on food and mental health programs, as well as the Cedar Basket Gift Shop. This employment social enterprise offers Indigenous youth on-the-job training, helping them gain new skills and build confidence. The store carries a wide variety of one-of-a-kind First Nations, Métis and Inuit handcrafted products, each with their own special meaning and story.
Visit their online shop or store at 16 Spadina Rd., Toronto, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 10:30 a.m-1 p.m. If you are unable to place an order online, call 647-260-9264.
Native Canadian Centre of Toronto’s Indigenous Marketplace
The Native Canadian Centre of Toronto is hosting an in-person and online marketplace featuring more than 50 local Canadian Indigenous artisans displaying handcrafted jewelry, traditional and contemporary clothing and paintings, dreamcatchers, medicines, and gourmet items such as hot sauces and maple products. Register for free tickets but walk-ins are welcome!
The marketplace runs Friday to Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., from Nov. 24 to Dec. 10, at 16 Spadina Rd, Toronto, and online.
United Way Tribute Card
Send a card that gives back. United Way digital and print cards are available to send electronically or physically for holidays, birthdays, thank-yous and more.
Double your impact
Thanks to the Canso Leadership Team Challenge Grant*, your gift can have even more impact!
All new Leadership gifts of $1,200+ this year will be matched. If you donated $1,200 or more last year, then any increase to your gift to United Way this year will be matched dollar for dollar. That means you’ll have an even bigger impact on our community and help even more individuals and families across the GTA build a better life.
* Canso Leadership Team Challenge Grant only applies to gifts of $1,200 to $9,999 to United Way Greater Toronto; not to gifts designated to other registered charities. The Gift will match up to $1 million in total donations. Gifts must be received by December 31, 2023.