Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a Christmas event for kids in Île-Perrot almost didn’t happen.
“I had a Santa that was ready to come and guess what? Santa got COVID,” said Lovie Rivard, who co-organized a gift giveaway for kids at Cafe Luxe.
Luckily for Rivard and her team, Peter Angrove was able to step in at the last minute to help make sure that the event happened.
“I felt it was a very worthwhile charity so I volunteered my time today,” Angrove said.
He, Rivard and a team of volunteers spent Sunday afternoon handing out dozens of goodies to children.
“For Christmas of 2020, they didn’t celebrate,” Rivard pointed out. “We all had a lockdown, and the kids were miserable.”
That’s why she teamed up with Sandy Sorrenti, co-owner of the cafe, to help make this Holiday season special. Within weeks, the two West Island women managed to get more than $3,000 worth of gifts — all donated from businesses as well as customers of the cafe.
“One generous person who wants to remain anonymous, donated forty laptops,” smiled Sorrenti. There were iPads too.
The gifts were given to kids from the West Island Big Brothers and Big Sisters project, the children of single mothers, as well as health care workers.
According to organizers, more than 70 children that got gifts were thrilled, like five-year-old Madeline Butler whose mother, Melissa Ridley was excited for her.
“Last year was pretty tough — not seeing her grandparents,” said Ridley, “and we just had a small Christmas at home.”
She hopes this year will be better for her daughter, especially because larger gatherings for the Holidays are now allowed.
Sorrenti said she’s just glad she and Rivard were able to pull off the event this year.
“Kids should get a present each year,” she insisted. “They shouldn’t struggle. You know?”
The two women hope to make today’s celebration an annual affair.