The season of giving officially gets underway Friday with the 43rd lighting of the Christmas Tree of Hope in Gore Park.
Friday’s tree-lighting is the start of the annual holiday fundraising campaign for the Children’s Fund, which supports dozens of local organizations that provide aid to Hamilton’s most vulnerable residents.
The tradition began in 1976 and has raised $5.7 million to date.
“It’s a huge tradition,” said 900 CHML news director Jeff Storey. “I think there’s a lot of people in the community that anticipate it. Plus, a lot of individuals and organizations rely on the money that we raise throughout the year and donate to them so that they can provide a better Christmas for underprivileged kids in our community.”
Each year, the holiday fundraising campaign raises between $200,000 and $250,000 for the 45 organizations the Children’s Fund supports. Those organizations include the YMCA, Good Shepherd, Interval House of Hamilton, Mission Services, Wesley Urban Ministries and more.
“Our mandate is to make sure that all of those funds are distributed to organizations that deal with people that are in underprivileged scenarios,” said Storey.
“A lot of times, it’s young kids — 13, 14, and under — and of course, a lot of times, it’s single moms, too. So we certainly do our best to help those that need it most at this great time of the year.”
CHML’s Scott Thompson will be broadcasting live from Gore Park from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The tree will be lit up at 6:30 p.m.
“It’s one of those times of the year where we feel as soon as the CHML Tree of Hope is lit, it is the start of the Christmas season and we get really geared up to raise as much money as we can throughout the month of December,” said Storey.
Over the weekend, CHML will also be broadcasting live from Limeridge Mall, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Residents are encouraged to show up and support the Children’s Fund with a donation, whether it be money or an unwrapped toy.