This is an unprecedented Christmas for the Community Connections’ Christmas Program.
Coordinator Patti Larson said there were many newcomes to the program, some arriving in tears and feeling ragged by the pandemic.
However the community also stepped up in a way she has never seen before.
Even with businesses themselves struggling, they found a way to make donations, Larson said.
The Cheers 12 Days of Christmas campaign collected $2,000 more than last year in gift cards from local businesses. The Roxy Theatre, which is not showing movies at the moment due to COVID restrictions, collected food and cash donations.
The city also donated $3,125 in lieu of a cancelled staff party.
These are just some examples of many.
Larson was at a loss for words to properly describe the full extent of how amazing, wonderful, caring and generous the community has been.
“The Christmas program is bursting at the seams,” she said.
With the program in their new outreach building, things were a little bit different this year said Sheena Bell, executive director.
It has become a one stop shop for gifts, food and other supports such as help filling out paperwork for COVID supports or access to counsellors.
“The staff have been keen and kind and made it beautiful,” she said.
In a year that saw visits at the food bank from 4,400 to 11,000 from March to November, Bell said the community spirit and support for the Christmas program has been overwhelming.
The program is running until Dec. 23 at 416 2nd St. W.