Marking its 70th year in 2019, the annual KIN Canada Family Christmas Appeal has a more celebratory feel this holiday season.
Co-chairmen Sue Gallant, Ray McCourt and Eric Ferrish have been heading the event since the 1990s, and have seen many smiles and happy Christmases provided through the Appeal.
“It’s been an amazing journey for us at KIN. We’ve been fortunate enough to have the community behind us, and I think we’ve been able to help the community through our work,” said Gallant.
KIN Canada is a nationwide volunteer organization helping their communities in any way they can.
“Our motto is serving the community’s greatest needs. It’s a model for what we do. We help out with fundraising, working with local groups, but our Christmas Appeal is the real bread and butter of what we do,” said Gallant.
The Christmas Appeal will be held on Dec. 2, on Eastlink, Channel 10 and HD Channel 610. The public will be able to donate pledges and a live auction will be held with live music and entertainment, from 7 to 10 p.m.
All proceeds from the KIN Appeal go toward ‘hampers’ the organization gives out to the community during the holiday season.
“Each hamper has the essentials for a Christmas dinner. The turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, carrots, potatoes and a bunch of other food items to last them a while.
"And there are also gifts for the children. Everything is anonymous; we only identify if what gender is the child and something they might want or need,” said Gallant.
“(It's) a good Christmas meal for the family,” added McCourt.
With the 70th year for KIN, the chairman has some cherished memories over the years.
“The families and children are always so grateful and appreciative. Through the years, we see the same faces show up and volunteer, and it’s only grown since the years have gone by. We see almost 300 volunteers from the time we start our hampers to when we drop them off,” said McCourt.
“Every year, we get letters and cards from the families we’ve helped. It’ll have drawings from the kids, and it’s just so sweet. It really touches the heart,” said Gallant.
“I remember one year, not too long ago, we had this horrible snowstorm. The banks of snow were as high as the cars. The roads were filled, but we still made every delivery expect for two on the 25th, and we got to those deliveries the next day. We wanted to make sure everyone had a nice meal and presents for Christmas,” said Ferrish.
The most rewarding thing about the appeal and delivery day is the stories the KIN volunteers hear, said Gallant.
“When everyone gets back from their drop-offs, we get to hear the stories and how happy people were receiving them. You don’t realize how much you’re really helping the community out, I know for me and a lot of other people at KIN, this is what Christmas is for us. It just makes you feel good to know you’ve brightened someone’s day and made the holidays a little easier on those in need.”
For more information on the KIN Family Christmas Appeal, contact Sue Gallant at 902-303-0135 or firstname.lastname@example.org