Make a difference in the lives of families in your own neighborhood by sponsoring a family in need this holiday season.

For years Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa (BBBSO) has been fortunate to work with dedicated volunteers to run a Holiday Hamper program. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa serves 800-1000 children annually – many single parent families that can use some extra help over the holidays.

Each year, BBBSO looks for Sponsors to match with a family in need. Sponsors are asked to shop for the items on the list below (see FAQs) as well as deliver the hamper to the family’s home. Each Sponsor is matched with a Holiday Hamper Volunteer that will provide support and assistance throughout the process.


From one hamper over 15 years ago to 118 fully-loaded hampers in 2019, YOUR GENEROSITY is making the holidays so much better for a huge number of families in Ottawa. Some testimonials we received from happy recipients:

“There are some fantastic people in the world. When my son came home his face lit up and said oh look mom. His face was beaming. So he had some ice cream. Christmas will be amazing. Thank you to all who donated and brought it to our house.” 

“The sponsor I had this year was amazing. She went above and beyond to try and make out Christmas a memorable one. She did a great job and often emailed to ask for our preferences for certain items. She included a gift for each member of the family as well . This program went above and beyond what I had anticipated and the sponsor herself took pride in putting together the hamper. Not only do we have all the supplies for Christmas dinner we also have a ton of groceries for this week. What is normally a hard time financially has now become one of abundance I am beyond thankful!”

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to say thank you to my sponsor and her family. My sponsor’s act of kindness and her tremendous effort to deliver the hamper basket for my family is beyond appreciated. It was -34 outside the day that she and her husband delivered the box to us. I hope one day, my son and I will be able to follow in my sponsor’s path on giving back to the community.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What do Sponsors provide?

BBBSO asks that Sponsors provide food for a full Holiday Dinner, as well as some extra food items. For a family of four this would cost $80-120 and would include:

  • 15lb turkey
  • 4 litres of milk
  • 1 box of dressing
  • 1 box of cereal
  • 10 lb potatoes
  • 2 loaves of bread
  • 5lb carrots
  • 1lb margarine or butter
  • fruits eg. clementines, apples, bananas
  • candy canes or dessert
  • 1 can cranberries
  • 1 lb cheese
  • 2 cans vegetables
  • 2 cans soup or stew
  • drinks (instant coffee, tea, juices)
  • foil baking dish (for turkey)
  • Optional: laundry basket or food bin to hold all  items

Will Sponsors receive the information about the family being sponsored?

Sponsors will receive the name of the family before the end of November, along with their contact information. The final date for families and Sponsors to sign up is Dec. 1st.

When and how do Sponsors contact the family?

Sponsors are asked to contact the family at their earliest convenience to arrange the delivery date.  Please also confirm the client’s address at this time.  All families should be contacted by Dec. 15.  Sponsors should also advise their Holiday Hamper Volunteer of the scheduled delivery date.

What about delivery?

In most cases Sponsors are expected to deliver the hamper directly to the family on a mutually agreed date sometime between Dec. 15 and Dec. 23.  In some cases the family may not want someone coming to their home to deliver, and Sponsors are asked make alternative meeting place such as a community center, or the BBBSO office at 1645 Woodroffe Avenue. Please note the BBBSO office is unable to store the food, so it would have to be picked up right away.

Can Sponsors purchase gifts for the family?

No, BBBSO asks that Sponsors adhere to the original list of food items. Families have been referred to Toy Mountain if they would like gifts for their children age 12 and under.

Can Sponsors volunteer to do more?

Yes, there is always a place for more volunteers at BBBSO. The website contains all current volunteer opportunities and upcoming events.

How do I get started?

Please contact us by phone at 613-247-4776 or email more information or to participate.