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Five Things you need to know about…. Barrie & District Christmas Cheer

This month we are especially excited to share with you the important work of Christmas Cheer Barrie. It is an amazing organization that helps families who need a little extra help at Christmas time. Keep reading to learn more about this great organization in our community.

Christmas Cheer Volunteers posing for group photo

#1 Christmas Cheer has been around for 47 years.

Barrie & District Christmas Cheer was founded in 1974 by the station manager of CKBB Radio, Wayne Bjorgan, who saw a demand for food and toy donations at Christmas time for families in need in the area. There were 35 families that received donations the first year.

Each year demand grew and, in time, Barrie Minstrel Association’s Ernie Nullmeyer took over leadership. Over those 28 years Christmas Cheer grew to help 1100 families.

In 2001, Peter Moore, President of Moore Packaging and PBM Realty supported Christmas Cheer by donating boxes for Christmas packages. He also donated the year-round 15,000 sq ft facility they are currently in free of charge.

Today Christmas Cheer is lead by a volunteer board of directors and has grown to cater to thousands of families in Barrie and area.

In 2020, Christmas Cheer served nearly 1,700 families in the Barrie, Innisfil, Essa, Springwater, and Oro-Medonte areas, which equates to around 5,000 individuals. They help families with children, and also adults with no children.

Santa and Christmas Cheer Volunteers holding a oversized donation cheque

 

#2 Their Goal is to raise $250,000

Each year Christmas Cheer seeks to raise $250,000 in cash along with food and toy donations. They raise money and collect donations through corporate sponsorships, local businesses and schools, and various fundraising events throughout the year. Covid-19 has unfortunately put a lot of these things on hold, and therefore they are only accepting cash donations, made through their website, in lieu of physical food and toy donations.

 

#3 Covid-19 has changed how you can donate.

Although they are definitely in a much better position from a public health perspective, Christmas Cheer is NOT able to accept any goods from the community in 2021. No Food. No Toys. No Gift Cards. Christmas Cheer will be running a strictly financial campaign only this year.

The need for financial donations is especially important to the Christmas Cheer campaign this year as the latest edition of Canada’s Food Price Report forecasts an overall food price increase of 3 to 5% for 2021 and predicts annual food expenditure could go up by as much as $695 compared to 2020*. (*source:https://www.dal.ca/sites/agri-food/research/canada-s-food-price-report-2021.html)

You can donate by mailing a cheque to:

Barrie & District Christmas Cheer, PO Box 161, BARRIE, ON L4M 4T2

or online at ChristmasCheerBarrie.com and click the DONATE NOW button.

You will be taken to their secure page on CanadaHelps.org

 

Christmas Cheer Volunteers

#4 There are no volunteer opportunities this Christmas.

In previous years, Christmas Cheer has relied heavily on their amazingly dedicated volunteers (nearly 2,000 of them) to achieve what they do each year. Currently, they are only permitted 25, socially distanced volunteers inside their warehouse at a time, so sadly, once again, they will not be open to the public in 2021, nor will they be offering volunteer opportunities.

#5 You can apply online on the Christmas Cheer website.

Christmas Cheer applications can be submitted online. To find out if you qualify, there is an application guideline and required documents list available on the Christmas Cheer application page of their website. Applications are open starting at the end of November.

Barrie & District Christmas Cheer logo

We hope these 5 Things that we have shared with you give you a better idea of what Christmas Cheer does. If you are able, please donate to this great charity. If you are in need of their assistance, please reach out to them so that you and your family can have a great Christmas!

 

Photos courtesy of Barrie & District Christmas Cheer.

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