By Pearl Akers
I’m a firm believer that Christmas is for kids. Unfortunately, some parents cannot afford to provide them with what they’ve asked Santa for.
So in the fall of 2007, I started a pet project of involving the community in providing gifts for kids at the Foodbank in Musquodoboit Harbour. I enlisted the help of Sobeys and the Royal Bank in Musquodoboit Harbour and they both have been good enough to continue to do so. This fall the 12th annual Children’s Christmas Wishes Tree will be set up near the checkout at Sobey’s Musquodoboit Harbour store.
Every October, I get in touch with staff at the Foodbank and provide them with “wish list” sheets. The parents are asked to list 3 wishes for each child. Each child will receive only 1 wish, but I ask for 3 wishes because the first wish may be impossible or impractical to get, or too expensive to buy. That way, donors can buy a child’s 2nd or 3rd wish.
In November, I collect the wishes reported so far and by Nov 11, I have a tag made up for each child with their 3 wishes, in order of preference.Because of confidentiality reasons, neither I nor anyone else knows the children or the families. Each child is assigned a tag number (in random order). The tags have the child’s gender, age and their 3 wishes, along with instructions for delivery, etc., and a contact phone number.
Sobey’s provides a small tree (which one of their staff donates for this use) at their checkout and I hang the tags on it. Donors are asked to register the tags when they are taken, so I can keep track of what’s on the tree and not.
The Royal Bank in Musquodoboit Harbour actsas a collection point. It is central, secure and the management and staff there are so helpful in facilitating the collection of the gifts. I have a firm deadline for the gifts that allows me just enough time to organize and deliver them to the Foodbank before they hand out the Christmas hampers.
Twelve years ago, when the project started, we often had 40 or 50 kids. More recently, they have dropped to 2 to 3 dozen. I am amazed each Christmas by the generosity of the donors. A big THANK YOU to all of them; and also to the staff and management of Sobey’s and Royal Bank in Musquodoboit Harbour and the Foodbank staff for helping to make this happen.
Here’s wishing each and everyone a VERY MERRY, HEALTHY AND