Monday, March 8, 2021

1,500 volunteers, 100 community captains, 30 organizations registered for ‘The Gift’

Special to the Sydenham Current

How do you make sure the holiday spirit reaches every person in every community during a pandemic?

You put out a call for help to a community of 105,000 big hearts and hope the community responds.

These past two weeks the call is being answered in a big way, with more enthusiasm and energy than we ever could have imagined.

This is the heartwarming groundswell of support that is already building momentum across Chatham-Kent for The Gift.

The Gift is the biggest community holiday hamper program in Chatham-Kent history and so much more. To date, 23 community hamper organizations, Chatham Kent citizens and other groups from across the Municipality have joined together to make sure no one is left behind.

But the community participation and enthusiasm does not stop there.

“For the first time in our 66-year history, we are working with every hamper program in Chatham-Kent. This is going to be epic,” says Goodfellows Chatham President, Tim Haskell.

“This is catching on like fire!” stated Alley Matthews, Salvation Army manager.

After announcing The Gift on October 15, the call for volunteers has been phenomenal.

In just 15 days, over 1500 volunteers and over 110 community captains from every community in Chatham-Kent have officially registered to help. Countless involved haven’t officially registered yet. It’s an outpouring of generosity and compassion for each other that we first welcomed during the May 16 Miracle and we hope to build on ever more this holiday season.

We have had an amazing response from the community so far and would like to invite everyone to participate in our next monumental task – getting prepared to decorate every inch of Chatham-Kent.

Our next community call is to help us spread the holiday spirit in a very visible way – time to build our decorations! We will be encouraging and helping everyone to decorate their homes or businesses with lights, hand painted signs, whatever it takes to share the holiday spirit and brighten up our neighbourhoods.

For now, we start preparing, and we need everyone. Volunteers will be making decorations and signs to distribute across the community. But we need your help. If you have any decorating supplies you can donate to the cause, we will gratefully accept and make great use of them.

Anything at all that can be made into a decoration or sign is welcome: for example, scrap wood, real estate signs, paint brushes, paint rollers, buckets, any type of paint, tyvek, scrap craft supplies, holiday decorations, Christmas lights, etc. We need it all! These can be dropped off this Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 2pm at The Chatham Gift Workshop located in the large warehouse one building east of Lally Kia on Richmond Street in Chatham.

If you are unable to drop them off this weekend, please email thegiftck.ca@gmail.com and we will arrange a pickup. “I am going to make decorations until I drop. Who is with me?” says Chatham sign factory community captain, Bonnie Lewsaw.

“We are so excited to be part of this amazing holiday initiative to generate even more holiday spirit this holiday season. Everyone needs a bit of extra holiday cheer this year especially. Decorating and brightening our homes and neighbourhoods will be a great way to spread some warmth of community and together,” stated Jackie Beatty. Bothwell Toy and Hamper Program

The Gift is open to everyone. If you or your organization want to help build decorations or help any way that works for you, please register at thegiftck.ca or email thegiftck.ca@gmail.com

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