Posted Monday, January 16, 2023
The Fort Erie Kinsmen, with the help of the fort Erie Kinettes and the generosity of the people in town have been making sure that no child is left behind at Christmas for 43 years.
The past few years have been a challenge with Covid restrictions having to change the way the program was implemented. Two years ago, we were under restrictions that would not allow more than 6 volunteers to support the program and everyone had to pass strict screening in order to help out. Along with the Salvation Army, they got it done. Last year, we still needed to have distancing in effect.
This year, we needed to change venues as the demand for the food bank run by the Salvation Army is so high they had to move up in the hall that had traditionally been used for gift of love. We had so many toys. The people who could, were so generous the toys were spread over many tables split into age groups and boys and girls. The space we used was made available in the leisureplex by the town of Fort Erie.
When a parent would come in, they were given a package from the Salvation Army that includes pyjamas, books, hats and mitts and a small bag of candy for each child.
When they got to President Larry, he would call out the ages of each child and the army of volunteers made up of Kinsmen, Kinettes and our faithful group of volunteers would take a bag and get to “shopping” for the kiddos.
This year there was a huge donation of stuffed bears from calendar club. We had so many every child of every age got one! When we realized that we were going to have a surplus the Stevensville Kinettes were contacted. They had already completed their Christmas assistance program deliveries and they too had a surplus and asked if there was anything we were short on. On the last day, it became clear that there was an error made and St. Vincent de Paul who takes care of singles and couples for Christmas, had several families and we needed to get toys to over 35 more children. A couple of kinsmen drove to Stevensville, loaded up two vehicles with more toys thus solving both groups problems!
When all was said and done there were 157 families including 397 children who were able to have a good Christmas this year.
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