Generous spirits help Nanaimo charities through the holidays

By Spencer Sterritt
January 9, 2019 - 2:31pm

Most Christmas campaigns around Nanaimo and the mid-island area achieved or exceeded their goals in 2018.File photo/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — Thousands of families were able to have a wonderful Christmas season thanks to the generosity of others.

Charities and Christmas drives around Nanaimo said they managed to achieve or exceed their goals this year.

Carolyn Iles with the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive said they were able to “thoroughly help” roughly 700 families have a toy under the tree.

It's in line with their goal for the year and slightly above their 2016 total.

Thousands of Oceanside residents were also able to have a Christmas morning filled with toys and good cheer.

The Tigh-Na-Mara toy drive, held in late November, took in nearly 2,000 toys and $14,000 in cash to help struggling families.

Organizers said it was “heartwarming to see so many smiling faces coming together to support residents in need.”

December was also a busy month for the Loaves and Fishes food bank. Their 15th annual Hamperville food drive collected more than $400,000 worth of food and handed out 4,000 hampers to those in need, well-exceeding their goal for 2018.

Executive director Peter Sinclair said it wouldn't have been possible without overwhelming community support.

“We had over 15,000 volunteer shifts and we're very thankful people stepped up and helped so generously,” Sinclair said. “It's critical we're here and able to help people meet their basic food needs.”

Unfortunately, blustery weather kept some Christmas campaigns from reaching their goal.

The Salvation Army's annual kettle campaign came up $30,000 short.

Local officer-in-charge Robin Borrows said the last days of the campaign, which are crucial and often bring in the largest donations, were hampered by the wind storm and ensuing power outages on Dec. 20 and 21.

Their goal for 2018 was $262,000, up from their previous goal.

Borrows said the relatively light year for donations is a set back, but he's remaining “positive and hopeful” for other campaigns and fundraisers during the year.

 

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