Time once again for annual Community Christmas Basket program

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wrapped presents

Each year the Community Christmas Basket program helps over 300 individuals in the North Renfrew area, including children, adults and seniors.

The combined population of Laurentian Hills, Deep River and the townships of Head, Clara, Maria is approximately 7,000.

This includes the geographical area from Deux Rivières to Chalk River, the catchment area served by North Renfrew Family Services.

It’s a fact that in our affluent community, one in 25 people is living below the poverty level. There are many who do not come forward to ask for help.

The “Community Christmas Basket Program” is a community sponsored and supported system of aid to those in financial need of some help to make a meaningful Christmas celebration.

For the past 28 years the Community Christmas Basket program has been running as a co-ordinated community effort, tying together the various charitable initiatives of several service groups, churches, clubs, businesses and individuals.

This program helps to ensure a fair distribution of gifts, so that some groups or individuals are not receiving duplicated gifts while others are overlooked entirely.

The program is for anyone in North Renfrew (from Deux Rivières to Chalk River and Des Joachims) on limited or fixed income.

Families receive gift certificates for Valu-mart, Giant Tiger and Canadian Tire, so that they may choose holiday foods and items according to their own families’ tastes and traditions.

These are available to be picked up, along with gifts and toys, during the week of December 14-17 by appointment at the parish hall, Our Lady of Good Counsel Church.

New donated toys can be dropped off at the Deep River fire hall or Laurentian Hills municipal office by Friday, December 10.

We are unable to accept stuffed toys due to environmental sensitivities.

Gifts for this program are donated through the angel trees that are put up at various locations in Deep River and Laurentian Hills.

Locations this year include St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Deep River Library, IDA drug store, Deep River Family Chiropractic, Canadian Tire, Point Alexander municipal hall and library, and Santa Fe Restaurant.

Families and individuals may pick an “angel” from any of these locations and purchase an appropriate gift. The “angel” will specify the age and gender of the recipient.

How to participate

Gifts should be returned to the Deep River fire hall and the Laurentian Hills town office no later than Friday, December 10.

Please don’t wrap the gifts. They are put out for the parents to choose, giving them a chance to pick something that is special for each child.

You could, however, include wrapping paper and a bow for the family to wrap the gift they choose. Seniors are encouraged to choose a gift from the angel tree gifts as well.

Pajamas donated for children up to age 18 are collected at Northern Credit Union, Deep River and distributed through this program as well.

Eligibility decisions are made by the staff of North Renfrew Family Services, in consultation with other social service agencies, based on their knowledge of the community they serve.

To contribute, you can write a cheque to North Renfrew Family Services (mark it “Gift Basket Program”) and mail by Friday, December 10 to Box 1334, Deep River.

Your donations are the essence of this community program. The money is used to purchase the food certificates – if more is collected, more can be helped.

The program is organized by volunteers of the Deep River Sorority.

Donations are received and administered by North Renfrew Family Services (NRFS), who issue tax receipts for each donation.

NRFS co-ordinates the distribution of all contributions to ensure that there is some Christmas help for anyone in need.

If you need assistance this Christmas, email nrfs.volunteer@drdh.org.

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