This is usually my most favourite time of year. The social get-togethers, the decorations and yes, the annual Rotary Children’s Christmas Celebration. It is usually a huge effort arranging for all the meals, books and gifts for over 700 local children. I enjoy every aspect of it, the weeks of planning, the email requests for donations, the evening with Rotarians & friends wrapping the gifts and books and then that magical day – the gym at Cathy Wever School filled with 700 children.
It is a busy day setting up tables and chairs, place settings, volunteers all helping to make sure every child gets a plate full of turkey, potatoes, and cranberry sauce. We even have Halal turkey for our friends! The excitement of the kids feeds my sole. Some of them look so forward to a delicious meal, some have never experienced a Canadian Christmas and get to see Santa Claus for the first time.
The gym is buzzing with excitement, over 700 children and so many volunteers & Rotarians – setting tables, helping cut up turkey for the little ones, delivering chocolate milk and clearing the tables. There are the dancers and performers, music and yes, a special visit from Jolly Old St Nick himself! It all wraps up in the early afternoon, as the volunteers sit together to have some food and then sweep the floors and stack tables and chairs. WOW what a day!
To me it is why I am a Rotary Member. The efforts all year – fundraising events, emails and planning all to make sure tummies are filled and smiles on the faces of the children make it all worth it. I believe everyone who is thinking of why they should be a Rotarian should be part of this magical day!
It launches the holiday season and puts me in that Christmas Spirit. No ghosts need to visit me, I have the annual Children’s Christmas Party that makes my heart grow…3 times the size! Yes, I like all the volunteers, friends and Rotarians are all in need of a rest after the magical day!
This year, it will be very different. No huge gatherings, there will be no 700 children all together in the gym. It might be different…. but not cancelled!
The wrapping and packing will be outdoors and the turkey and all the fixings will be individually packaged and delivered to the classrooms. Volunteers will be masked and keeping their distance. We will make sure each and every child will get a turkey dinner, chocolate milk, a new book and gift. We can’t and won’t cancel the Children’s Christmas Celebration!
Yes, the costs are higher this year, the challenge to raise funds is even greater without fundraising events. Everyone is tired and have been challenged by COVID. My spirit is still alive as I ask each and every friend, family member and stranger, to reach deep down and help support the annual Children’s Christmas Celebration. A Virtual Stocking donation of $20 helps feed 2 children and provides them with a book and gift. The generosity of some is amazing as they have gotten friends and co-workers together and sponsored a classroom of kids (Elf Sponsorship Level).
Christmas will not be the same this year, but I know that each and every child at Cathy Wever School on December 17th will have a full tummy, have a small gift and a new book to take home and enjoy. Thanks to all of you who have helped make the magic happen this year…and I am looking so forward to next Christmas when we can gather together again in the gym and celebrate! The magic will continue!
Merry Christmas, President Alex Moroz