Christmas Angels were abundant on Saturday Dec. 14 during the Christmas with Dignity celebration held at Town Hall. Between the countless volunteers, organizers, entertainers, and those who came out and brought their families to support the program – they all made the event a wonderful success.
With a constant variety of local entertainment located on the upper lever overlooking the lobby, hundreds of people stopped in throughout the day to enjoy the festivities and to support the campaign.
The incredibly talented Chestermere High School Band was the feature entertainer for the morning and everyone enjoyed the assortment of holiday music they offered. In the afternoon, the highlight was a request made by two individuals to have Akesh Aheer sing a beautiful rendition of “Mary, did you know?” which raised $400.00.
It was evident how much work was put into this event, beginning with the large beautifully decorated Christmas tree which acted as a focal point in the centre of the room. On the main level was a silent auction, including many wonderful gifts donated from members of the community that were up for grabs to the highest bidder. Cookies and treats were available as well the children enjoyed having their faces painted with festive designs.
One Christmas Angel; a member and volunteer from the Chestermere Lions Club, came bearing an unexpected gift. He presented a cheque in the amount of a whopping $1,000 to the Christmas with Dignity organizers to go toward the campaign.
Near council chambers was a lineup of children who were eager to go shopping with their own money to purchase gifts for family members because inside the chambers, the children were paired up with a volunteer shopper and allowed to shop from tables that were filled with gifts, all for a modest amount of money, ranging from $1-$5. Most of the items were donated by community members for the store. Once the children had carefully made their selections, volunteers helped to wrap them, so that the moms and dads could not peek at their presents.
Danielle Fermin, Community Services Resource Coordinator shares how thankful her team is for the support Chestermere residents have given towards the campaign, “I cannot express how wonderful it has been to have so much support shown this season for residents in Chestermere and area.”
She goes onto tell a story of a conversation she overheard while in the Children’s Store between a child shopper and a volunteer: “Where does this money go?” asked the child to which the volunteer responded, “To everyone in the Chestermere community. It is for everyone who needs help.” The little girl smirked and said, “So, that means I get help too!”
“It was a lighthearted way of explaining the importance of community and the gift of dignity”, says Fermin.
Of course no Christmas party is complete without Santa and this was no exception. Despite his busy schedule the jolly fellow was right on time, taking the time to talk with the children and pose for photos.
“On behalf of the Christmas with Dignity Planning Committee, Community Services, and the Town of Chestermere, we would like to thank the community for their outpour of generosity during this year’s Christmas with Dignity (CWD) Campaign. From donations brought in to add to our Christmas Store, providing goods during our homemade goods sale, community campaign initiatives, and stopping by during the CWD Celebration event- it has been a whirlwind!” Fermin states. “Thank you to all our volunteers, Starbucks, CIBC, silent auction donors, and our performers who all helped during Christmas with Dignity Celebration.”
The CWD Campaign continues onto the end of January 2014; monetary donations will be accepted at Town Hall. Although the name Christmas with Dignity would suggest the fund is set up just for the Christmas Season; it is actually a program that families can access all year long for basic needs such as food, utilities, housing, dental services and medication. Donations are accepted at Community Services at Chestermere Town Hall all year long. For more information, visit www.chestermere.ca/cwd