Kathy Heaman, Chair of Virden Christmas Cheer Board, began as a volunteer some years ago. She shares her passion, “It’s just something that I like to do at Christmas time. I like knowing that I’m helping.”
Volunteering with the Cheer board was an eye-opener for Heaman when she began.
“You see the numbers, but you don’t really understand it until you are working in it. Then you really do realize some people don’t have much at Christmas. What they get from Christmas Cheer may be the only [special] thing that they have at Christmas.”
Heaman shares: FACT OR FICTION
Fiction – Christmas Cheer only operates at Christmas time.
Fact – Behind the scenes, Virden Christmas Cheer season stretches from a start-up meeting in September, through to a wrap-up meeting the following spring. Prepping for the Christmas season includes arranging, gathering and storing boxes for packing hampers. Canvas letter are sent to businesses, organizations and local families/individuals who generously provide food, and sometimes gifts, for hampers. Grocery orders happen in late November, early December (updated every few days) for items we are including in the hampers over and above donations from the community.
Fiction – Christmas Cheer has a paid board.
Fact – Virden Christmas Cheer is run by a dedicated group of volunteer board members, giving their time and talents to make things run smoothly. These committee members run the day-to-day operation of Christmas Cheer and are assisted by many volunteer individuals and groups from Virden and surrounding communities. Volunteers pick up donated items such as knitting, toys and gifts. Donations are also welcomed to be dropped off at the Christmas Cheer headquarters. One board member receives recipients’ applications and another matches applicants with donated hampers. As this is a small community, privacy is very important to our group. We respect each recipient’s privacy.
Fact – Virden Christmas Cheer board could not complete the steps in our day-to-day organizing without the generosity of the community. Every monetary and gift donation is put to good use to provide an individual or family with a full Christmas dinner and many times extra groceries to help, as well as gifts where possible. Even the recipient’s pets will receive a little something to assist with their needs, when available. Teddy bears and all sorts of stuffies from the local Teddy Bear toss find welcome homes with recipients as well.
Fiction –Christmas Cheer has a permanent office space.
Fact – Our volunteer board runs Virden Christmas Cheer from their respective homes, until the allotted week in mid-December, when the Christmas cheer office is located in the Virden Legion Hall. During that one week, the hamper boxes are built, organized and packed. Grocery hampers are dropped off and double checked before delivery on the final day. All of this made possible by the help of many volunteers lifting, carrying and driving.
Fiction – Christmas Cheer is only available to those living in Virden.
Fact - Virden Christmas Cheer covers an expansive area including the communities of Virden, Oak Lake, Elkhorn, McAuley, and ALL rural areas in between. Our volunteers and donations come from all of these areas as well. If requests are submitted involving towns, or villages beyond those parameters, we contact those communities to make sure the request is covered.
Our network of wonderful volunteers gives varying amounts of their time through a season that is already busy. Without these donations - time, gifts or money, we could not and would not do our work, and that’s a FACT!
Dec. 8 is the deadline for people to apply for a Christmas Cheer Hamper.