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Coronavirus: Sun Youth charity finds way to deliver Christmas cheer despite pandemic

Click to play video: 'Sun Youth charity finds way to deliver Christmas cheer despite pandemic' Sun Youth charity finds way to deliver Christmas cheer despite pandemic
WATCH: With Christmas just around the corner, community organizations like Sun Youth are scrambling to deliver the traditional baskets to people in need. Sanitary restrictions have changed the way their clients are served, which means more work. As Phil Carpenter reports, one group of volunteers is stepping up its efforts to make sure no client is left out – Dec 22, 2020

With Christmas just around the corner, community organizations like Sun Youth are scrambling to get Christmas baskets for the needy, and because of pandemic restrictions the organization says they had to change the way their clients are serviced.

One group of volunteers has stepped up efforts to make sure no client was left out.

Montreal parking attendants started helping Sun Youth to help organize and deliver goods to clients.

“Especially now in the time of pandemic, it’s been really, really hard for a lot of families,” said attendant Max Casimir, explaining why he’s helping out.

He estimates there are about 50 of them who rotate through different shifts during the week, and that some even come in on their days off.

Read more: ‘There’s such a need’: Montreal volunteers gather to distribute care packages to the homeless

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Sun Youth officials say this year their help was particularly valuable.  Because of the pandemic, they say it wasn’t safe to have too many clients show up at the  Sun Youth depot on Park Avenue

“We decided to go with a lot of home deliveries this year,” explained Eric Kingsley, head of the group’s emergency services. “A lot more than in previous years.  Almost exclusively home deliveries.”

According to him, this year they expect to service between 4,000 and 5,000 families. It’s about the same they delivered last year, but delivering baskets posed some logistical problems this time —how to get the packages to all the families before Christmas, he pointed out.

So they decided to prepare earlier this year.

“I think the week of the 7th of December,” he noted.  “And we’ve been going straight through, almost 300 families a day.”

Casmir said he and his team have been helping out every day since the start and that they’re responsible for about a third of all the deliveries.

“Each delivery includes about maybe from five to 12 bags,” he noted, adding that they include perishable and non-perishable food as well as toys for kids.

Casimir said this year is different for him.

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“This year is the first time I’m doing the distribution, which is bringing the baskets to the people,” he explained.

Read more: Moisson Montreal food bank in need of volunteers to answer record demand

He stressed that the look on people’s faces when they get the baskets makes it all worth it, so it’s his way of giving back.

“It really warms my heart and I know — I’ve been through that and I know who are going through hard times,” he told Global News.

Kingsley said his organization has relied heavily on the attendants.

“They were the first ones who started home deliveries five years ago,” he smiled.  “They would do like a thousand deliveries.”

He pointed out that because of them and others, Sun Youth has all the drivers its needs this season.

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