Once again, the local community extended an extraordinary level of generosity to help make the holidays a little brighter for over 50 agency families. Almost every sponsorship referral was matched with a sponsor – this is a new and encouraging development. Compared to 2010, there was a 23% increase in the number of sponsors for families.
Along with community giving trees (Braxtons, St. Hilda’s Church, OPP), this year there was also an angel tree a staff member coordinated with the Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in St. Thomas in support of kin families. The St. Thomas Kinsmen Club’s annual contribution continues to play a significant role in the support provided to families during holiday time and this year provided $3,500 worth of toys and Walmart gift cards.
It would appear that the popularity of the holiday campaign is growing (largely by word of mouth) as it provides a unique opportunity for families/corporations to help others in a more personal and creative way.
Many families spoke of how their children personally shopped for other children or gave up their own gift potential to help others. Sponsoring a family provides a wonderful teaching moment – gratitude, charity and helping others in their time of need. Sixteen percent of sponsorships were from agency staff, 50 Christmas Shoppe vouchers were distributed and there were 4 financial gifts totaling $1,700.
The holiday campaign was very fortunate to have the efficient and capable support of a Fanshawe student this year to assist with the organizing of sponsorships. When the placement ended, this student volunteered approximately 20 hours of her own time to prepare and co-ordinate delivery of packages during the week before Christmas. Amazing! Two staff and the student volunteer provided approximately 150 hours of campaign support.
The agency would like to thank all of those groups and individuals whose thoughtfulness and generous holiday spirit brought a special joy and happiness to children and families in our community.
Thanks Elgin County!