Christmas may still be more than a month away, but Woolwich Community Services is already in full-gear planning its annual Christmas Goodwill Program, which offers non-perishable food, new clothing, and new toys to families within Woolwich and parts of Wellesley.
For many families in the region who may be able to get by day-to-day without making use of the services the organization provides, WCS’ Kelly Christie says that Christmas can pose an extra financial burden.
“Christmas is very, very expensive but it’s also a very celebrated holiday,” said Christie. “When Christmas comes they don’t want their kids to do without, that’s when they’ll come and ask us for the help.”
The goodwill program provides non-perishable food, clothing, toys, and a gift card to No Frills or Foodland grocery stores, as well as their option of either a ham or a turkey – all of which is donated by members of the community. Last year 150 families including 221 children were recipients of Christmas hampers.
WCS is asking that anyone who wishes to drop off supplies for the hampers to do so at their office at 73 Arthur St. S. in Elmira before Dec. 12. They are also taking requests now from families who will want to make use of the program.
To qualify, families must live within Woolwich Township or the north part of Wellesley where WCS provides services, and they have to qualify as low-income. For that, WCS will use the Statistics Canada cutoff as a guide and request an income statement as proof. For a family of four, for example, the cutoff is $501.44 per week.
Families who qualify for the program make a wish list of items for their family, and WCS staff will do their best to fill those requests. To help reach that goal, WCS has set up Christmas-wish trees at the Home Hardware locations in Elmira, St. Jacobs and Linwood as well as the Crossroads Restaurant. The trees have tags on them with items that have already been requested by families.
Members of the public can purchase the items on the tag and donate them back to the WCS, knowing that the item will go to someone who really wants it.
On Dec. 12, WCS will occupy Lions Hall in Elmira to fill all the Christmas hampers that families have requested. The hampers will be ready for pick up by Dec. 16. The entire process is anonymous, and each family is identified by a number rather than their name.
Businesses and families can also sponsor a family if they choose. Simply let WCS know the amount your organization or family wants to spend, and they will match you up with a family gift hamper and use your donations to sponsor that particular family.
To volunteer, call 519-669-5139 or stop by Woolwich Community Services office in Elmira.