Christmas time at Sanctuary

"...some of our families are just getting by and Christmas puts an additional strain on their finances so we do our best to help."

At Sanctuary we know how much our children look forward to Christmas.  The tree is up and the excitement is building.

We also know how much of a strain those expectations can place upon some of our families.  Every parent wants their child to have the best.  We have children from a variety of economic circumstances so some families have the means to provide everything for their children.

Unfortunately, some of our families are just getting by and Christmas puts an additional strain on their finances so we do our best to help.

The staff at the Skills Centre donated a sum of money so that we can buy presents for the children to earn to give to their parents.  The tasks are simple, sweeping the floors, tidying the videos and DVDs, emptying the garbages, and keeping the entrance tidy.  They earn points towards “purchasing” a present for their parents by completing these tasks.

The children get a real feeling of accomplishment as they pick out their gifts and experience the joy of giving something that they have worked for.

We provide hampers for those of our families who are most in need.  Not all of our families require help but a few do so we ask local businesses and individuals to sponsor a family.

The sponsor can do the shopping for the family hamper as we provide them with the family makeup without divulging names, or they give the money to us and we do the shopping.  We  shop for three and four families a few days before Christmas.  In addition to the regular Christmas fare we stock them up with cereal, milk, bread, peanut butter, jam, pasta, sauces and other staples – enough to take them into the new year.  Our families are always so grateful, there are hugs and even tears as we unload their hampers.

This year our Christmas dinner is on Sunday.  The families of our children are invited so this means parents, siblings  and sometimes grand parents.  In the past we have had over 90 people at this event.  Volunteers provide and cook the turkeys and hams, prep the vegetables, bake cookies, decorate, and serve.  Velvet at Endless Harvest donates all our vegetables.

There are Christmas carols and fellowship and lots of joyful noise and every family goes home with leftovers.  More volunteers clean up, ready for Sanctuary to open on the next day.

Christmas is a stressful time for those of us who have the resources we need.  There are many families in this community who are struggling on a monthly basis to meet their need for shelter, food, clothing, and utilities.

One day it could be you.

There are wonderful community agencies providing help in Trail,  not just at Christmas but all year through like the food banks, Career Development Services, Freedom Quest and the Friends of Friends  Clubhouse to name a few.

I challenge you to give 10 per cent of what you normally spend on Christmas to a local agency or organization that provides help to people who do not have the means to give at all.  Experience the true meaning of giving right here in your own community to make everyone’s Christmas a good Christmas.

Barbara GibsonTrail