Deadlines have been moved up for those hoping to receive assistance for the holidays from Combined Christmas Giving.
The program, which is 25 years old, is one of many that has been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, registration for families and ultimately the distribution of packages will take place much earlier this year.
“It's been a hard decision to make because most of my volunteers are older and you have to consider their safety number one,” said Shelly McLellan, spokesperson for Combined Christmas Giving.
She said the program won’t hold any fundraisers this year but is accepting donations from those who want to assist.
"We are going to go ahead with Combined Christmas on a smaller scale with more restrictions,” she said.
That will involve applications over the phone on Sept. 28-30 and then Oct. 3, 5, 6, 7.
On those days, applicants are asked to call: Terry at 902-862-6254 (9 a.m.-noon); Pauline at 902-304-5776 (noon-3 p.m.); Susan at 902-862-2144 (5-9 p.m.).
The plan is to have packages distributed by Nov. 7 in case there is a second wave of COVID-19.
“Once we've started it, we have to get it done,” McLellan said.
Those receiving packages will still have to provide proof of income and their health card.
While the new deadlines will be an adjustment, the main objective is to improve the holiday season for families needing assistance.
“At least the kids will have their toys for Christmas, whether we get a second wave or not,” McLellan said.
McLellan hopes people will consider donating to the cause.
“Nobody’s really thinking about Christmas,” she said.
Supporters are still able to make monetary donations as well as contribute pyjamas, hats and mitts.
To make a monetary donation, the mailing address is Combined Christmas Giving, PO Box 7, New Waterford, B1H 4E9. E-transfers can be sent to email@example.com.
Receipts will be available.
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