Over 50 households in our community and more than 100 people, half of them children, were treated to a joyous Christmas this year, thanks in part to the generosity and holiday spirit of their neighbours. In the lead-up to Christmas, the Nanoose Community Services ‘Elf’ program volunteers were able to gather, wrap and distribute hundreds of gifts donated by local residents who either selected tree tags with gift suggestions, or sponsored families and single seniors who did not have the means to celebrate on their own.
“Some of the single moms had tears in their eyes knowing that their children would have a wonderful Christmas, and the seniors were humbled by the kindness of total strangers in their community”, said Chief Elf and program coordinator Maureen Moore. In a post-Christmas message to all the sponsors and donors, Maureen says, “know that all of you changed someone’s Christmas in a joyful and meaningful way”.
Donations were up by 14.6 percent and sponsors up by 10.7 percent from last year. Total value of gifts went up from $28,530 in 2016 to $32,707 in 2017. Close to 75 percent of the households helped were clients of the NCS food program.
Maureen and her team received a number of heartfelt notes of appreciation from people which, she says, speaks to the generosity of the givers and the joy they brought to so many. One senior gentleman who suffers from diabetes had this to say:
“Thank you so much for your generous gifts. I had a little Christmas tree this year. It’s my first tree in 28 years. The presents looked so wonderful underneath it. I am seldom, if ever, able to buy jams with no sugar, such a treat! And the syrup, why I just had to make pancakes on Christmas morning. The special socks really felt good, and the gift card for gas was the icing on the cake. I won’t worry so much about getting to my doctor’s appointments for while.”
A senior woman thanked her sponsors for “making this Christmas brighter, and for your big hearts! I feel like a little kid at Christmas, excited and remembered.”
A local boy who selected a tag from one of the elf trees that requested ‘Lego for an eight-year-old boy’, included a little note with his gift. It said, “To someone special at Christmas. I’m eight too, and I hope you enjoy my favourite old Lego set and the brand new one. Merry Christmas!”
“Both of these little boys learned a valuable life lesson this Christmas”, Maureen points out. “How to give and receive with joy”.