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Coming down to the crunch for Christmas donations

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The Christmas for Everyone Luncheon was again a success. Tuesday’s lunch at the Petrolia Legion brought in $2,250 of donations for the Christmas toy and food hamper program. Here Mary Edgar waits for a friend of the Petrolia Rotary to serve up her soup.

 

Sandra Hartman is beginning to get nervous.

The manager of the Petrolia Food Bank has been collecting applications for Christmas for Everyone and says the number of people needed help is still high. But donations, especially for toys, are lagging behind.

Last year, about 425 food hampers were given to low-income families and officials expect this year the need will be great since food bank use is up.

Hartman has been accepting applications for the hampers for a couple of weeks and is expecting a surge this week. “The food bank’s clientele is more and more the elderly in our communities,” says Hartman. She’s urging people in the community to make sure the elderly they know who may need extra help to make their way to the food bank for help. “The help is there and I’d like them to be able to utilize it.”

And while she’s hoping to help as many people as possible, she is “shocked” at the pace of donations. Food donations are slow and so far only about one-third of the toys have been donated.

“It may be because of the weather and the economy,” she says, noting people may not be in the Christmas spirit yet. “We’ve had a few donators who are now clients; you know times are tough when your donators are now your clients.”

Hartman is hopeful donations will pick up. There are already signs of it. The 13 employees at Gamble Insurance, including three from Petrolia, are in the middle of a fundraising drive. Last year, they challenged each other to raise enough donations to fill a pickup. They’re expecting to collect 2,000 cans this year.

And The Bargain Shop is holding a toy drive with proceeds going to Christmas for Everyone.

The program also got a boost Tuesday from the Petrolia Rotary Club’s annual Christmas for Everyone Luncheon.

The food baskets and toys will begin to be distributed in the third week of December.

 

Jammin’ for Dad: Wyoming singer belts one out for George Klazinga

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When she was just a child, Heather Klazinga would sing four-part harmony with her dad George and the rest of her family while doing dishes.

Saturday night, she had a chance to sing for her dad as her bands, Painkiller Jane and Scotch Prophets headlined Jammin’ for George – a benefit for Wyoming Firefighter George Klazinga.

Klazinga has been an active volunteer in Wyoming for years as a firefighter, in his church and in the community for events such as Kylie’s Kause. But two years ago, he began feeling ill. For the past year he’s been in and out of the hospital as doctors try to figure out exactly what is wrong. Klazinga has been in hospital since September and doctors have finally been able to say he has two rare blood disorders which are affecting his auto-immune system.

Klazinga hasn’t been able to work for some time and his wife, Debbie, has tried to spend as much time as she can by Klazinga’s side. And that’s caused financial hardships.

So members of the Wyoming Fire Department put together a night of music and fun to help the family through the difficult patch. Heather Klazinga, George’s daughter, stepped up to the plate immediately to provide the entertainment with her bands and arranging for other friends to entertain also.

Saturday night, the Plympton-Wyoming Fairground’s building was full of family and friends. And George was there, via Skype. His friend, Hank Hoeksma, carried around an iPad with the Skype feed so Klazinga could see what was going on from his Sarnia hospital bed.

Heather played his two favourite songs, Seven Bridges Road and White Rabbit. “He’s so proud of me,” Heather told The Independent during a break in the music “I have people come up to me and say ‘your dad is so cute! He came up to me to say ‘that’s my daughter!’”

Heather says it has been “very, very difficult” to see her dad suffer but says the fundraiser has been an amazing experience. “It’s unbelievable,” she said as family and friends continued to pour through the doors. “There are no words to describe this.”

“Dad was always a big part of the community…this make you believe in paying it forward and it will come back to you.”

Hi (Five) Santa

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Hayden Sitzes, 4, of Oil Springs gets up close and personal with Santa Claus during Oil Springs’ second Jingle Bell Walk. Close to 100 people walked to the village office to watch the lighting of the Christmas Tree then returned to the Youth Center for some face-time with Santa and a little bingo fun.

 

‘Lost Prince’ ready for the stage

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The Lambton Young Theatre Players are just days away from lifting the curtain on their latest production; The Last Wish of the Lost Prince.

About 20 young actors will take to the stage of the Sarnia Library Theatre starting Dec. 17 in a holiday production which is a fantasy similar to The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. The prince of Christmas wishes is lost and the fairies which collect Christmas wishes can’t find him to deliver them. “Of course there are evil forces at work that need to be dealt with,” says Nancy Keys, artistic director of the players.

““We’ve got a very talented and enthusiastic cast for this show, and their having tons of fun in rehearsal,” says Keys. “They’re very excited and everyone is looking forward to performance week.”

The play was written by assistant artistic director Bethany Lawrence. ““Bethany has written a wonderful play full of heart and inspiration, and the Lambton Young Theatre Players are delighted to present it as our holiday production,” says Keys. “It’s a terrific story about how the very small and the very weak can indeed become mighty, and defeat the greater evil forces around them.

“The Last Wish of the Lost Prince is about faith, friendship and selfless acts of tremendous courage. It’s a great story for all ages.”

There will be two days of matinee performances for local schools on Dec. 18 and 19 and there will be public performances Thursday Dec. 19 and Friday Dec. 20.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for youth under 18.

 

 

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