CHESTERMERE – As the holiday season draws nearer, one of Chestermere’s most notable charity organizations is gearing up to help local families in need.
Christmas with Dignity, which came together in 2007, is an emergency fund that helps provide resources and money to meet the basic necessities like food, medical and dental services, utilities and other needs. Although is has “Christmas” in the name, the group helps families all year round.
Last year they brought in around $20,000 in donations, and in the hopes of upping that number this year, they are busy organizing some holiday events for the community.
“Christmas on the Lake” will return again this year, and will happen on Dec. 17. There will be a gingerbread contest, a silent-auction, gift-wrapping and a “kids shopping zone” where kids can purchase Christmas gifts for family members and friends. All of the items in the shopping zone will be donated by local businesses, and will either be new or gently used. All proceeds will go directly to Christmas with Dignity.
The 2011 Christmas with Dignity’s campaign’s letter to the community is as follows:
“While the message of the holiday season centers on charity and giving to others, as a society, we seem to be becoming and less and less inclined to part with our well-earned money. Perhaps the constant barrage of charitable solicitations we face on a day to day basis has desensitized us to the pleas of others. Or maybe it is the constant uncertainty we face in our own lives under the cloud of a cool economic climate.
It seems that as soon as we start thinking about making a donation, we start thinking of reasons not to do it. How am I to know what my money is being used for? Can I really afford to give when money is so tight at home? The problem is so big and my wallet is so small. Sometimes it may seem easier to decide that giving to charity is someone else’s responsibility. It isn’t surprising then that more people are willing to pass the buck than give one.
What would our world and our community look like if everyone thought this way? Would the single mother be able to afford Christmas gifts for her kids? Would the father who just got laid-off be able to feed his family? Would the family of four be able to pay their medical bills? Probably not. While we all have heavy loads to carry, the question to ask yourself is how can you lighten the load of someone else?
This year, you have the opportunity to give directly to your local community through the Christmas With Dignity Fund. All donations go directly to families in Chestermere that have exhausted every other avenue and option. Through Christmas With Dignity, your donation isn’t a monetary number, it is the food on your neighbors table, the ability for your child’s friend to play on their sports team, and the prescription for their coach.
Donations of any size are welcome and appreciated. Last year Christmas With Dignity was able to raise nearly $20 000, and has helped approximately 15 families in our community pay for their energy, heating and water bills, rent, funding for sports camps and much needed prescriptions.
This year, Christmas With Dignity will again be working with the Chestermere Food Bank so that donations can be matched by the Alberta Governments Community Services Spirit Program. If you are a resident and are interested in donating to Christmas With Dignity please make all cheques payable to the Chestermere Food Bank to have your donation matched by the Spirit Fund. Businesses must make their cheques payable to the Town of Chestermere as these funds cannot be included in the Spirit Fund grant application, however, they will all be designated to Christmas With Dignity.”
Christmas With Dignity is looking for monetary donations from members of the community as well as local businesses. Donations can be made at the Community Services’ Reception desk at Town Hall during regular business hours. There will also be donation boxes at several locations in Chestermere. For more information, 403-207-7060.