Tara Shanks, with the help of friends, family and community, fills dozens of stockings every Christmas for youth served by Threshold Housing Society. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Oak Bay woman and newly-adopted daughters stuff stockings for at-risk youth

Threshold Housing youth to receive Christmas stockings

When Tara Shanks learned how many Victoria youth wake up without gifts on Christmas morning, she jumped into action.

It was Christmas 2017 when she first started creating stockings for young people supported by Threshold Housing Society. Two years later she’s nearly finished the adoption process for three young girls and her stocking-stuffing efforts have more than tripled.

Threshold Housing Society works to prevent adult homelessness by providing safe housing, support services and community to at-risk youth between the ages of 16 and 24. Many of the youth Threshold serves are about to age out of foster care or have already aged out of care.

READ ALSO: How to make holiday gift-giving eco-friendly — and more meaningful

Shanks’ heart broke when she learned that many of young people in Threshold housing rarely woke up to gifts on Christmas morning.

“In Victoria, youth homelessness is a huge issue that kind of gets missed sometimes. … There’s so many people who need help but I just found for this age group, people are less aware,” Shanks said. “As soon as [Threshold] said [youth] have never received a stocking, I had to help…it’s just so different from the world I grew up in.”

Now the community of Oak Bay, where Shanks runs a small business, helps out too. Gift and cash donations pour in and help the family fill stockings for every youth in Threshold programs. Shanks says her daughters love the process of giving back.

“Now for our girls who have joined us from foster care and were adopted over the age of 10, the idea that some of those kids have aged out [of care] really means something to them. They understand what that feeling could be like.

“The biggest part for me, with the stockings, is not so much that they get the stuff, which is lovely … it’s that they know the community sees them. That to me is the real message there,” Shanks added. “We see you, we acknowledge you, you’re important.”

READ ALSO: Threshold House officially opens doors

Jasmine Campbell, development coordinator at Threshold Society, echoed Shanks sentiment, and explained that the youth served by Threshold are often categorized as the ‘hidden homeless.’

She said while many go to high school or post secondary, at the end of the day, they don’t have a safe, stable place to go home to.

“Often that’s not something you can see. So if you can’t see it, you won’t think about it.”

Campbell said the stockings will go to young people who aren’t expecting anything on Christmas morning.

“They’re going to wake up to gifts under the tree, and that’s all thanks to community members like Tara and the people who have come forward to help make that possible,” she said. “I feel like it tells that they’re not alone this Christmas. They have an entire community supporting them.”

To support Shanks and her Christmas stockings, you can drop off items like chocolate, candy, decks of cards, tools and other small items to A La Mode Consignment in Oak Bay or by emailing Shanks at tara@ponderingturtles.com.

To learn more about how you can help youth supported by thresholdhousing.ca/get-involved/.

READ ALSO: Santa drops by Victoria Gen Hospital to give teddy bears to region’s sickest kids



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria thrift shop quietly closes two locations indefinitely

Society of St. Vincent de Paul shut down Sooke and Central Saanich storefronts

New report finds ‘chronic’ shortage of daycare spaces across Greater Victoria

Sidney meets 52 per cent of demand, the best figure for six surveyed communities

Four-storey Oak Bay Avenue development to have rooftop garden

Redfern 35-unit development sent to public hearing

Sooke councillor pitches another way to improve transit

Coun. Jeff Bateman wants free passes for youth on local routes

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Greater Victoria

Thunderstorm may produce strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain, warns Environment Canada

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Horgan blasts B.C. Greens for refusing youth overdose detention

Lack of support key to B.C. election call, NDP leader says

Most Read