Summerside - Skaters of all abilities, from graceful gliders to kids whipping around the rink, came to the ice at the Credit Union Place for the first Athena Santa Skate Sunday morning.
The skate is a step up from the annual Families Helping Families Reindeer Run, now in its sixth year, all in support of raising funds to help struggling families make the Christmas season bright for their children.
Vice president of Athena Consolidated School in Summerside, Janice Carragher-Doyle, said that the countdown to Christmas is on and, for families in the community, that means pressure to spend money whether they have it or not.
“We help their Christmas become less stressful and complete, and families have become very overwhelmed and grateful for our support,” she said. “For the first five years we did a five kilometre walk or run, and we decided to up this year and do a community skate.
“The event happens every December, and the money raised goes to families in our community at Christmas time. They are families that may need an extra boost over Christmas to help with groceries, presents, and anything else that they may need.”
Each year, Athena Consolidated School fundraises through a number of initiatives to help families over the cold season that may calculate whether they can have food on the table.
“In the past we have raised between $3,000 and $4,000 from the Reindeer run, the Christmas concert, and small-scale fundraising activities within the school,” said Carragher-Doyle. “And every cent of that money goes back to our families at Christmas time.”
In a clockwise direction, Kim Studer twirled on the ice and brought smiles to many onlookers supporting the event.
“We make a family backyard rink every year. There’s a little pond by our house and it freezes over and we go and skate there as often as possible,” she said. “And we have to support our Athena families it’s such a good cause.”
Carragher-Doyle thanked the volunteers and Athena Consolidated School for all the support.
“It’s a staff effort that we put towards buying the gift cards, purchasing the gifts, but definitely today we see families from all the community that we didn’t really see in the run, which is amazing.”
The Summerside Western Capitals came to support the fundraiser and bring smiles to the children on the ice with a friendly skate.
It looks like we have 80 to hundred participants out there,” concluded Carragher-Doyle. “Just an overall good feel of the Christmas spirit out there today.”