Generosity of residents, organizations and businesses is evident in our community throughout the year, but it seems particularly visible at this time of year when so many people do so much to help those less fortunate and to support worthy causes.
Last week we praised the volunteer community — those many people who contribute their time and expertise to make Sylvan Lake what it is.
This week, as we reviewed the list of events taking place in our community — attending many of them to report their success — we were again struck by the generosity of our neighbours and friends.
The past seven days were probably full of more activity than any other period in the year as far as fundraising goes because events were geared to kick off the countdown to Christmas.
As a recap, here’s what we’ve seen and heard.
• The RCMP/Victim Services/Fire Department charity checkstop raised more than $10,000 and a “healthy amount of toys and food” Saturday.
• Red Deer Catholic Schools, Our Lady of the Rosary and École Mother Teresa schools collected about $3,000 worth of food and some items for the Christmas Bureau during their Stuff A Bus at three Sylvan Lake locations on Saturday.
• The Spirit of Yuletide Festival raised in excess of $10,000 towards the town’s Urgent Care initiative during the two day event at the multiplex and arena on the weekend.
• The sacred massed choir presented,at the 25th annual Inter-Church Sacred Christmas Concert, the Christmas musical The Star Still Shines. Charities supported by donations at the event included Bibles for Grads, Community Partners Compassion Fund, Sylvan Lake Christmas Bureau and Sylvan Lake Food Bank. Over the 25 years of the concert’s existence close to $40,000 has been raised.
• Sylvan Lake Rotary and Interact members walking along the parade route last Friday night collected close to $1,000 for the food bank.
• The Angels Anonymous tree is set up at Dairy Queen from Nov. 30-Dec. 10 where cards are posted for those registered with the Christmas Bureau. Help make a child’s wish come true by taking a card, buying a gift and returning it to Dairy Queen. There’s a story in this week’s issue on the Christmas Bureau.
• All schools are in the midst of fundraising according to their newsletters.
École H. J. Cody High School’s newsletter reported they raised $3,008.41 for the Terry Fox Cancer Foundation. Grads are selling chocolates to offset the cost of their graduation. They’re also hostinga winter semi-formal dance Dec. 13. Cody students are also involved in several other Christmas projects.
C. P. Blakely School is collecting non-perishable food items for Sylvan Lake Food Bank or cash for Sylvan Lake Christmas Bureau at their Christmas concerts. Students are also asked to bring food donations to reach their goal of 1,500 items. The third annual White Elephant and Bake Sale Dec. 19 is raising money for the food bank.
Our Lady of the Rosary (Pre-K to Gr.2 students) is accepting food bank donations at its Advent concert. They have a Giving Tree, “a project to instill in your child a sense of responsibility and to help them understand the value of money … The important part of this project is that the children need to be responsible for working for the money they bring into class,” said the newsletter. Various classes are also decorating a ‘train car’ for the Train of Hope and students are invited throughout Advent to bring in a non-perishable food donation to help families in need within the school and community.
École Steffie Woima Elementary School is accepting non-perishable food items with a goal of 1,000 items. The “Recycle My Cell” contest gathered 251 cell phones and rechargers which were kept out of landfills.
École Fox Run School students set a record bringing in 336 boxes for Operation Christmas Child in November. There’s also a story in this week’s paper about the orphanage in Ogooma, Uganda that’s been supported by Fox Run, C. P. Blakely and others in our community, through T.O.U.C.H. Ministries.
• A picture in today’s issue shows a cheque presentation by Shoppers Drug Mart to Sylvan Lake and Area Community Partners Association for $2,751 raised through the Tree of Life fundraiser.
This list is by no means all-inclusive. To those we’ve missed our apologies.
What it does show is just a glimpse of one week of generosity within our community and efforts underway.
As we approach Sylvan Lake’s Centennial year, we’re planning to keep track of all the donations made to the many worthy recipients. Beginning the first week in January, we plan to post a weekly list of donations and recipients and keep a running tally. Please email your information to firstname.lastname@example.org, phone the office (403-887-2331), or drop us a letter.
We believe you’ll be as surprised as we are when the total climbs every week and we see the involvement of our giving community. The final tally, we know, will be stupendous.