Over 400 families across Petrolia and Central Lambton will have a merrier Christmas after a local charity gave away over 700 boxes of food this week.
Christmas for Everyone took over the gymnasium of New Life Assembly for the culminating week of their campaign to give everyone in the community a good Christmas.
Sandra Hartman of Christmas for Everyone says volunteers packed boxes until Thursday when volunteers from fire departments in Petrolia, Warwick, Brooke-Alvinston, Dawn-Euphemia, Lambton Shores and Enniskillen as well as members of the Forest Rotary took over, delivering the food boxes across the region. They also delivered 400 bags of toys from the smallest of children to teens, many of whom will receive gift cards this year.
Hartman says the practice first started because there were not enough toys for the pre-teens but she says the gift cards are really appreciated. “I asked a few people if they were disappointed to get gift cards instead of a present and they say no because then they get to pick out what they want.”
Hartman says each family received plenty of food for the Christmas period, but she says there isn’t as much left over at the Petrolia’s Food Bank to get the organization through the winter months.
“There was not as much food donated this year, by a significant amount,” says Hartman. “I don’t know if it was the weather or if it is people’s financial situations.
“Next year we’re going to try to work on Thanksgiving drives for Christmas for Everyone in the hopes of getting the word out sooner,” she says adding that might also increase the food stocks earlier as well. It’s just one of the organizational changes Hartman plans to make to try to make next year’s campaign run better.
Hartman and her volunteers put in long hours leading up to the Christmas event with some people working late into the night and shopping early in the morning the day the boxes go out to ensure everyone has something at Christmas.
Hartman says it is all worth it when she goes out to help deliver Christmas to local families. “When it is someone who really appreciates the help, it reminds you of the 21 hour days and the frustration and their appreciation makes it all worthwhile.”