Christmas outreach programs well supported in Eckville

Members of the Eckville community in November donated plenty of food and gift items to help support families

Members of the Eckville community in November donated plenty of food and gift items to help support families for that town’s Santa’s Anonymous program, and to be sent abroad to help other children around the world for Operation Christmas Child.

Laurie Carritt, owner of Eckville Super Service, has collected Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes as a Greyhound agent for the past 25 years.

He said the program received solid community involvement this year from people eager to help out. “People realize Christmas is for everyone,” he said.

In previous years, the program in Eckville received an average of 40 shoeboxes for the entire year. This year, it received an average of three to five a day.

Students at Eckville Elementary School also played their part in helping others in need by donating toys and non-perishable food items to Santa’s Anonymous.

Principal Ian McLaren said most students have donated to Santa’s Anonymous before and are happy to help in any way they can.

“The kids are excited when they bring something in. They are happy to give,” he said.

Popcorn machines were also set up around the school, with proceeds from popcorn sales also going toward the cause. About $340 was raised through that initiative.

Eckville FCSS (Family and Community Support Services) director Heather Allen said a total of 20 hampers were put together for families in this year’s Santa’s Anonymous program.

Hampers include items such as turkey, ham, soft drinks, chips, candy canes, chocolate, bacon, eggs, coffee, pancake mix and toys for children.

Other items, such as bath products, were also included in some hampers.

“Families are surprised with all they get in the hampers,” Allen said.

While Santa’s Anonymous is a program specific to Christmas, donations for the Food Bank are accepted year-round, said Allen.