Alberta Newspapers Group
Bow Island and area communities shared the spirit of Christmas 2018 in support of the Joy of Giving campaign. Community members helped through donations of food, money, gifts, and volunteer time.
Spearheaded by Committee Chair Laurie Haynes, the campaign kicked off in November with a nomination of families in need of a little bit of extra help during the holiday season. Joy of Giving chipped in to make the holiday season brighter for 24 families, which included 37 children.
Haynes noted the Joy of Giving campaign got its start in 1986 when it was affiliated with Santas Anonymous out of Lethbridge.
“The post office originally did it — with the fire department helping with the toy part in around 1988-1990,” Haynes said.
In 2004, Haynes added, the hospital staff association took over the initiative. “In the past years, it has been done by volunteers in the community.”
There were many area residents and groups and organizations behind the Joy of Giving campaign. Space was donated by the LDS Church as the final sorting, filling, and distribution hub last month. Two events, in particular, generated large bags of stuffed toys. A Teddy Bear Toss was held at a novice hockey tournament and at a Senator Gershaw School senior basketball game. Truco also sponsored a contest for employees, which resulted in 1,360 pounds of donations. Employees were divided into groups and the group who brought in the largest poundage of donations won a prize.
Contests were also put on by local schools to help engage the community with donations, as Senator Gershaw School donated over 1,000 items and the Elves held a collection run to pick up collection boxes for the campaign. Local 4-H groups Generation of Tomorrow (GOT) and North 40 Mile volunteered to sort and fill hampers, as well.
During the campaign, 72 volunteers helped with the collection, sorting, and filling of hampers on Dec. 19 and 14 volunteers helped out with loading the donations and delivering the hampers on Dec. 20.
As for any highlights from this year’s annual campaign, Haynes said it’s the amount of volunteers that come out to help every year. “It’s greatly appreciated.”