Marisa Jimenez displays prizes for the Poplar Ridge Christmas Raffle by the first floor elevator at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.

Marisa Jimenez displays prizes for the Poplar Ridge Christmas Raffle by the first floor elevator at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.

Trail volunteer has a gift for giving

Trail residen Marisa Jimenez gives back to the residents of Poplar Ridge Pavilion with the Poplar Ridge Christmas Raffle.

From one holiday to the next, the true meaning of Christmas seems to have gotten lost over the years.

But one Trail resident, who begins planning for the holidays in early fall, does so with one mission in mind – to give back to the residents of Poplar Ridge Pavilion.

“The third week of September, I start going around town to ask for donations to the Poplar Ridge Christmas Raffle,” said Marisa Jimenez, volunteer in the extended care wing at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH).

Jimenez began her annual venture 12 years ago, and each year donations to the raffle have grown to exceed her hopes.

This year was no exception.

“I was worried this year with so many businesses closing, but that wasn’t the case, there was more donations and the raffle just keeps getting bigger.”

So far Jimenez has received 39 gift certificates and 55 gifts, and is expecting more donations this week.

“This is the most donations I have ever had, people have been so generous,” she said.

Jimenez inventories the bulk of donations in October, and then the KBRH Foundation forwards the list to BC Lotto, where the tickets are printed.

“Last year, I made $3500, the most ever, and all the proceeds go back to the Poplar Ridge residents.”

The raffle draw also keeps the residents of Poplar Ridge busy at their annual Christmas party.

“The residents pick names out of one box to match with a ticket from another, and this makes for a fun time,” she said.

Jimenez’s passion to volunteer time and care to the residents at Poplar Ridge began soon after she started a care-giving job there.

“Everyone has something they love to do, and I love to help the residents of Poplar Ridge,” she said.

“She is a small lady but she has a great big heart,” said Dennis Lacey, Poplar Ridge supporter.

Ticket sales began Nov. 6 and will be sold until the Poplar Ridge Christmas party on Dec. 18.

Jimenez’s impressive array of gifts and gift certificates to be raffled, are on display by the first floor elevator at KBRH, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.