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SOS Christmas program keeping dad’s memory alive

Mom receives help to make things brighter for young son
The SOS Christmas program is helping a single mother keep the memory of her son’s departed father alive. Struggling residents who need help getting a gift for their child or youth, or food in the cupboards this Christmas, can access the program until Dec. 21. (File photo)

Lissa Alexander

Special to the PQB News

After losing her partner to cancer, Sonia is working hard to keep her chin up and provide the best care for her six-year-old son (her name has been changed to protect her identity).

“My son and his father were very, very close, he was an amazing dad,” she said.

She credits SOS programs for helping her attain secure housing and for bringing her solace during the holidays.

Sonia’s son lives with neurological and developmental disorders, and since her partner’s passing, Sonia has faced many challenges to get the right support for her son. The first step was finding secure housing.

“If it wasn’t for the SOS Homeless Prevention Program, I probably wouldn’t be here right now,” she said.

The program helped set her up in stable housing, which was critical, she said, to be able to continue raising and caring for her son.

“And he’s amazing, he’s the love of my life and my reason for living.”

Now set up with a good support team to help meet her son’s needs, Sonia wants to make sure her son has a wonderful Christmas, complete with a gift from his departed father.

“The SOS Christmas program will help make that happen, and help offset the additional rising food costs, since I’m now the sole income provider,” she said.

The SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program provides gifts for local children and youth so they can find something special under the tree Christmas morning. Parents, caregivers and grandparents are able to choose gifts for children and youth in the SOS Toy Shop.

Families, as well as individuals without children, receive grocery store gift cards so they can choose food that is important to them over the holidays.

The program also works with the local Newcomers’ Clubs to provide Christmas stockings to seniors who are isolated or without close friends or family.

Terry and her husband are in their mid-seventies, still trying to work full-time, and are raising their two grandchildren (her name has been changed). Both she and her husband have encountered medical problems recently and have had to spend considerable money travelling for tests and paying for medical prescriptions.

Terry said she didn’t think she could access the SOS Christmas program as a working individual, but she learned that the program is available to any struggling residents who need assistance getting gifts for their children and putting food in the cupboards over the holidays.

“I was embarrassed to come because I’m still working, but with my medical problems, the costs, and I’m not sure how much longer I can work, the program will be really helpful this year.”

SOS is endeavouring to raise $300,000 to meet the needs of residents this Christmas and into the winter. Financial donations can be made online at, by phone 250-248-2093, or in person to the SOS Community Services Centre in Parksville during business hours.

Residents can access the program at the SOS Community Services Centre in Parksville until Dec. 21 (SOS is closed Dec. 22).

About the Author: Parksville Qualicum Beach News Staff

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