Winnipeg’s face of Christmas cheer is hanging up his stocking after a half-century.
Kai Madsen is stepping down as the executive director of Winnipeg’s Christmas Cheer Board.
“I can’t say enough about Winnipeggers,” Madsen said in a statement posted on the charity’s website Monday.
“It’s been a wonderful journey, a large part of my life and I owe them a debt of gratitude. I’ve seen the best of everybody and when you think well of people, good things happen.”
Madsen has been the public face and driving force of the local charity for more than 50 years, first as a volunteer and then as the executive director. The charity pairs families with local donors to make sure there is a hamper with food and toys for those who need it on Christmas day.
Over the past several decades, Madsen has become a familiar face to Winnipeggers as every year, he asks people to donate if they can.
The Cheer Board experience is “one that I will cherish,” Madsen said.
“I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a meaningful way.”
Current board chair Shawna Bell will assume the position of executive director. She says work has already started on planning for the upcoming season.
“We are excited to see our volunteers return this year, and look forward to supporting families across the city with much-needed hampers over the holidays,” she said.
The Cheer Board delivers about 17,000 hampers to families yearly.