By LISSA ALEXANDER
For many people, Christmas brings warm childhood memories of wonder and delight, including gifts under the tree and a holiday meal.
But for some residents, that’s not their reality.
“Disability just doesn’t pay what you need it to,” said Lisa, an SOS Christmas program participant last year. “Without the program and the gift cards for groceries and the gifts that they give, and just the kindness that they all have when you go there, without that, I don’t know what I would have done.”
Lisa has been raising her grandchildren since her daughter passed away a couple of years ago, and she’s unable to work. She said the gifts provided by SOS for her grandchildren, along with the grocery store gift card she received, allow her, and many others in the community, to spend their money on things children really need, like warm clothes for the winter.
The modified Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive is currently underway, helping to fill the SOS Toy Shop where low-income parents and grandparents can shop for free. The event also collects financial donations for SOS which are used to purchase grocery store gift cards so residents in need can choose food that is important to them over the holidays.
This is the 13th year of the Toy Drive. Last year the event collected more than 1,200 toys, $10,600 in cash and $2,600 in gift cards. Tigh-Na-Mara also donated $2,700 from breakfasts sold, and the team at the resort donated 16 bikes through the Bikes for Tykes program.
Paul Drummond, general manager at Tigh-Na-Mara, said he’s very proud of his team who contribute time and money every year to help make the event successful.
“It wouldn’t happen without the staff volunteers, and the ownership supporting it,” he said. “But the most important thing is doing something the community can feel part of and giving to a great organization such as SOS.”
To take part in the Toy Drive this year, people can make a reservation at Cedars Restaurant with up to six people through Nov. 23 (Monday to Friday). Bring in a new, unwrapped gift, gift card or cash donation and receive a complimentary Traditional Breakfast. Tigh-Na-Mara is also offering the option to purchase a Traditional Breakfast during the same time period, and the resort will donate $10 to the SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program.
There will also be a Toy Drive-Through on Nov. 24, where people can drop off toys or donations at the big tent in the front parking lot at Tigh-Na-Mara from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and receive a complimentary coffee and pastry to go.
The SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program has been making Christmas brighter for families and individuals for more than 50 years.
Lisa said the program is important so that kids have something to look forward to.
“It’s tremendously important,” she said. “Otherwise, children feel like they got left out.”
To make a reservation at Cedars Restaurant, call 250-248-2333. For more information about SOS Caring for Community at Christmas, visit www.sosd69.com.