Today I would like to introduce you to an Über-volunteer for North Dartmouth, Sylvia Anthony. Sylvia has been involved in community in many ways for a very long time. Her story talks about a group of special people who help to make Christmas a reality for families in need. While Christmas 2012 is a long way off, the work of these dedicated volunteers has already begun and will continue throughout the year:
First of all, I want to say how much I enjoy this blog where citizens can express their thoughts and provide positive information on individuals and communities. After reading Share the Love, an excellent heading for your latest blog, I started to think about many other organizations that show that very same feeling, especially during the holiday season.
Being a volunteer in the Dartmouth North community for many years, the first one that came to mind was the Christmas Hamper Program organized by parishioners and residents who volunteer at Holy Trinity Emmanuel Anglican Church on Alfred Street. The program ensures local families are able to enjoy the holiday season by providing hampers fully stocked with Christmas necessities such as a turkey, fresh vegetables, non-perishable food items, and gifts including clothing and toys for children under the age of 19. Started in 1988 with 15 families being helped, the program has grown over the years to assist a staggering 1,941 families. Even a break-in at the church which resulted in the gifts and food being stolen didn’t stop the program from continuing.
It all begins right after Christmas when the committee meets, evaluates the happenings of the previous Christmas and away we go. Parishioners and residents of the community volunteer their time and talents to put on events, special socials and fundraisers throughout the year to grow the fund for the next Christmas program. Most of the area schools contribute by asking for a food donation as admission to their holiday concerts and donating the goods to the hamper program.
Around November, our Angel Tree is placed at the back of the church. Laden with tags containing the names of children with their ages and sizes, the tree is used by the church congregation to help make Christmas a reality for the children. Helping with groceries and providing items for our teen baskets is also a priority for members of the congregation.
This year, the baskets were delivered on Sunday December 18 with volunteers dedicating their time and vehicles to make this happen.
Our little church around the corner is already sharing the love for Christmas 2012. We’ve asked our faithful supporters to start knitting the mittens, hats and scarves for our next journey with the Christmas Hamper Project. This is truly a community that cares.
Thank you for providing such a great service to community, Sylvia. You and your fellow volunteers should be proud. For more information about this program or to learn how you can get involved you can contact Sylvia at firstname.lastname@example.org.