Christmas Care: Making sure every year the need is met


wreath16On the one hand, these individuals would not be upset if their seasonal program was terminated because of a lack of demand.
However, on the reality side, the coordinators and volunteers at Christmas Care know the necessity of preparing approximately 1,600 food hampers and more than 1,000 children’s presents for close to 4,000 people each December to assist the less fortunate in St. Thomas and neighbouring communities, including more than 300 families at Oneida Nation of the Thames.
This is the 38th year the team is making good on its promise to ensure area residents experience the true spirit of Christmas.

As coordinator Andreana Collins observed several years ago, “We will make sure we meet the need – we will not allow any children to go without Christmas. Absolutely not.”
And, this year’s campaign officially launched Nov. 2 in the former Zeller’s store at what is now Elgin Centre on Wellington Street in St. Thomas.

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St. Thomas mayor-elect Joe Preston cuts the cake at the launch of the 2018 Christmas Care campaign.

In his opening remarks, St. Thomas mayor-elect Joe Preston observed, “Do we all wish we didn’t have to do something like Christmas Care? Of course, we do and let’s work toward that. But while we do, let’s work as a community to make it as good as we possibly can.”
He added, “I thank the people who help coordinate it and I certainly thank all of the volunteers who go out and gather all the goods we need to make our community this rich. Please keep going until we don’t need it anymore.”
Continuing on the critical role played by volunteers, Collins added “All of our volunteers are fantastic. We couldn’t do it without our volunteers. We couldn’t do it without the donations. And that’s the biggest thing for me is to think of those kids out there on Christmas morning.”
Collins indicated registration is now underway and will run through to Dec. 14 at the Elgin Centre.
To register, you need a piece of identification, a statement of earnings and something with your current address on it such as a utility bill.
Pick-up and delivery of the hampers and toys will begin the week of Dec. 17.
And, Collins stressed, nothing goes to waste.
“If food comes in on our last day, we will not store it for a year, so it goes to the food bank in Port Stanley, the food bank in St. Thomas, Grace Cafe gets the benefit of it and Inn Out of the Cold gets the benefit. Anywhere we can get it out there, it goes out.”

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