The definition of direct action according to the Oxford Dictionary is the use of strike, demonstrations and other means of public forms of protest rather than negotiation to achieve one’s goals.

Like most definitions, however they are essentialist and leave out the whole picture for the sake of conciseness. Direct action as seen on TV seems to always look like one thing; attending riots and rallies, protests and standing for hours on end.

While this is important, and all the power to the folks who are able and willing to do this, it is not the only way to make change. For this new year, we’ve put together a list of charitable organizations that are worth your attention, time and/or money and resources.   

Food Bank of Waterloo Region

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region works to provide emergency food assistance and support throughout the region. There is a system of 120+ community programs and agency partners that provide food and support to people in need. You can get involved by volunteering your time and/or money, and also donating highly needed food.   

O:se Kenhionhata:tie

A group of TwoSpirit IndigiQueer folx and queer/trans or LGBTQ+ accomplices that gather to celebrate, learn and thrive in their cultures. The Willow River Centre is the currently open permanent space for Landback Camp that people can spend their time in to connect with community and also runs various events. You can volunteer time and/or needed supplies for the centre at landbackcamp.com 

Rhythm and Blues

This is a unique hub for community and engagement in the Black community. Their events are always free and accessible for everyone in the community to participate in. They support and showcase Black culture and community to appreciate the Black experience in Cambridge. You can volunteer at rhythmbluescambridge.com 


An organization that works towards a future where new HIV, hepatitis C and sexually transmitted or blood-borne infections are rare in the Waterloo Region. They also work to support people living with HIV in maintaining their health, well-being and connection to their community. You can volunteer and/or donate money at acckwa.com 

Spectrum: Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Community Space  

A physical space for 2SLGBTQIA+ people in the Waterloo Region. They also serve, affirm and support the well-being of queer community members. You can volunteer and/or donate money at ourspectrum.com 

UN Population Fund—Gaza Alert

The escalation in the Gaza Strip is evolving rapidly, with more than half of the population forced to flee their homes and seek refuge. The United Nations Population Fund is critically concerned for women and girls in Gaza, including the 50,000 pregnant women. This is a fund to help support pregnant women and newborns on the Gaza Strip.   

Islamic Relief Canada

There is urgent action needed to secure a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. A temporary pause is not enough to end the bloodshed and address the humanitarian catastrophe. It is outrageous that the killing and destruction is now just resuming as if nothing has changed.