Consider lending a hand during this Christmas season

Who doesn’t love a parade, especially one that’s close to home? On Sunday, Nov. 25, please bring your family out and join us for the Beach Santa Claus Parade. It starts at 1 p.m. at Victoria Park, and runs along Kingston Road and up to Community Centre 55 for hot chocolate, crafts and free Santa pictures. This is the kick-off for our annual Share-A-Christmas program. Centre 55 and the Kingston Road Village Business Association partner for this fun community event.  There will be bands, costumed characters and of course Santa. Canada Post will be collecting letters for Santa. See you on Sunday.

Yes, the Christmas season seems to be starting earlier and earlier each year. Before Halloween, Christmas decorations can be found in stores. You’re seeing more and more houses with decorations and lights on now.  TV commercials are reminding you to shop early and often, and this week Canada has its own black Friday.

Of course Christmas is on everyone’s mind. You’re thinking about the toys your children will receive from Santa, and generous relatives and friends. Your lists of food and gifts are being prepared and you are diligently crossing off items in anticipation of the big day. You and your family are very fortunate.

There are others in your community that are not thinking about Christmas the same way we do, as they don’t have the financial means to provide Christmas food and toys for their family. The Christmas season can be a difficult time of year for those who are in need. The stress of the season mixed with financial concerns can be a lot for anyone to handle. Many who end up needing assistance are faced with unexpected circumstances that may leave them with little cash for the holidays. Parents are making difficult choices – pay the bills or buy Christmas presents. Imagine what the holiday would be like without a meal and presents under the tree. Please help less fortunate families celebrate Christmas with dignity.

At Community Centre 55 our Share-A-Christmas program has been helping needy families for 31 years, and this season about 1,000 families need our assistance. Sadly, the need for assistance is growing each year.

All the food and toys that we receive will be delivered to the families on Dec. 22, along with a hamper of perishable items for a hearty Christmas meal. Please help us, so needy families can enjoy a festive meal and be able to have their children open a gift on Christmas morning.

Here are some easy ways to help your neighbours in need:

1. A monetary donation to our Share-A-Christmas campaign would help us buy turkeys, fruit, vegetables and other perishable foods.

2. Support our Teen Angel program by buying much needed teen presents or gift cards.

3. Plan a non-perishable food collection at your family or business parties.

4. Contribute to our CanPaign program when you see our cans in your local businesses.

5. Volunteer your time to sort, pack and deliver the food and toys to the families.

6. Watch for food dropoffs at participating outlets including FreshCo and CIBC.

7. When shopping, please consider buying some of the following much-needed non-perishable products for donation: pasta and sauce, cereal, Kraft dinner, canned fruits and vegetables; canned meats and fish (tuna and salmon), peanut butter, jam, soups, stews and baby food. Also, food and treats are needed for cats and dogs.

Remember every little bit helps.

We are located at 97 Main St, and can be reached at 416-691-1113.

Also, join us for Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 1.

Thank you for your generosity.  Hundreds of children will be truly grateful.

Also, we want to say a big thank you to Beach Metro News for helping us get the word out, to ensure that all families in our neighbourhood have a memorable Christmas.

On behalf of the Staff and Board of Management at Community Centre 55, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

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