The Christmas Cheer Board is back in business for the 2021 season.
The local charity suffered a blow earlier this year with the death of longtime director Kai Madsen, but executive director, Shawna Bell, says the century-old organization aims to keep Madsen’s giving spirit alive.
“Kai was with us for over 50 years and he offered so much to this organization — so much of his time. But also, his heart was in it every single moment he was with us,” Bell told Global News.
“We’re just so very fortunate to have been able to have him spend the time he did with us. Right up until the end, he was concerned that he was going to be able to pass over all the information that he had in his heart and in his head to us, to make sure that we’re successful in the coming years.
“So that’s our goal. This year we’re intent on making sure to honour the legacy that Kai put in and really make this a successful season.”
Although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means the Cheer Board can’t operate at full capacity, they’re doing the best they can to help Winnipeggers in need.
“This year, because we are diminished in what we’re doing, we won’t be packing a traditional hamper,” said Bell.
“Last year due to concerns with COVID, we were unable to offer delivery, or pick-up for that matter, so we had food vouchers that we sent through Canada Post. We are going with food vouchers again this year, just in the interest of public health, but we’re very happy to bring back toys again this year.”
So, the organization is offering pick-up, delivery, and for singles, mail-out options.
Operations began Friday, and Bell said despite a few technical glitches, around 300 hamper applications, and counting, were processed.
“We hope people start calling in, and that they’re patient with us, because we have such a high volume,” she said.