Entering the Christmas season, we knew the organizations that assist others in the community were going to face a greater need than ever before.
We just didn’t know how great the need would be.
It turned out the Community Hamper Association had a record number of people looking for hampers this year. And, as such, they needed a record number of toys for its Angel Tree. And the Estevan Kinette Club would need to find a record number of pyjamas for kids through its PJ project, since each kid who gets a toy through the Angel Tree also gets pyjamas.
When the association started seeking requests in September and the applications came in quickly (thankfully, people didn’t wait for the last minute) they knew this year was going to be busy.
The community was there for them. The Mercury was proud to support the Angel Tree and the PJ Project with its Christmas Wish List campaign. And there were many businesses that stepped forward as well, with donations of cash, toys and pyjamas to help people have a better Christmas.
The support from Estevan and area matched the record-breaking demand. It just goes to show how incredible we are.
As for the Estevan Salvation Army, their annual campaigns don`t wrap up until Christmas Eve, so we won`t know just how generous the community was for that valuable ministry, but the community has never drifted away in its support for that organization and its highly valuable food bank. The Salvation Army had a more moderate goal for this Christmas season to fund its efforts locally for 2021, but we still expect the community will be there for them.
We still saw volunteers ringing bells near the kettles, and there was a decent amount of cash inside, even if the Salvation Army came up with ways to support its campaign without depositing pocket changes or a $10 bill or a cheque into the familiar clear bulbs.
And while we didn’t have the events that asked for a donation to the Salvation Army’s food bank for admission, people found other ways to contribute to the food bank.
A few weeks ago, you could be forgiven for wondering if there would be Christmas hampers, the Angel Tree, the PJ Project or the kettle campaign, or any one of a number of other community initiatives that we see at this time of year.
The hamper association certainly had to change the way it operates. They won`t be able to deliver the hampers like they normally would. They had to be firm with deadlines and appointments.
In a year in which there is so much need, in which so many people have suffered an economic hit due to the pandemic, Christmas would have been that much tougher on them if they didn`t have access to something like the hamper association or the Salvation Army. And in a year in which so many people won`t be able to get together for Christmas, the hampers will help those who will be on their own, and wouldn’t be able to afford a Christmas supper.
The community’s generosity has extended to other organizations.
We saw the community come through with support for the St. Joseph`s Hospital Foundation`s Festival of Trees. We smiled when he heard that the new Estevan Regional Nursing Home committee received a couple of large estate donations from those they labelled as their “Christmas angels.”
And while it wasn`t a fundraiser or a donation, we`ve never had more cheers submitted for our Cheers and Jeers than the 100 Kids who Care`s Joyful Pathway Project. A lot of people saw value in the efforts of those kids.
And we`ve seen people rethink their events so that something can happen, such as Christmas assemblies and talent shows. There`s nothing like a little ingenuity.
We all know how great the people of this region are, how generous they are and how they will get behind many causes. This Christmas only reinforced that knowledge.