A Moncton charity called What Kids Need Moncton that provides Christmas gifts for families who may otherwise have nothing under the tree is feeling the impacts of the pandemic — in a good way.
Founder of the charity Amanda Pooley said that even though many people are now out of work and struggling financially amid COVID-19, the number of people stepping up to sponsor a child is up almost 40 per cent over last year.
“Even people who don’t have very much, maybe getting that big gift at Christmas isn’t as important anymore in light of what we’ve gone through and people that even have a little bit extra are donating it and trying to help other families,” said Pooley.
Pooley has been collecting Christmas gift donations for kids in need in Moncton for the past nine years. She calls the event her “Snowflake Station.”
But she said that this year had been like none other and that getting the nearly 900 gift boxes to families has been a lot more challenging due to the pandemic.
“We are not allowed to have pickups right now because we are in the orange phase,” she said.
So every box of toys has to be hand-delivered to people’s homes, which has been a challenge, she said, given they don’t have as many elf helpers as they used to.
“Hockey teams, college groups, work groups would come in probably 15 or 20 at a time and whip up the boxes for us,” said Pooley.
Amid COVID-19 restrictions, Pooley said she is only allowed to have five volunteers inside her space at a time and they’ve had to recruit a lot more volunteer drivers.
“A lot more delivery drivers who are doing a lot more running around but the good thing about COVID is that everyone seems to be home,” she said.
Pooley’s mother, Gail Murphy, is one of those delivery volunteers. She said delivering the boxes has been a challenge but that she could not be more proud of her daughter’s determination to keep the giving going despite the challenges of COVID-19.
As for the generosity of others, Murphy said: “It is amazing. The community has come forward unbelievable!”
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