Gifts donated by the community to the SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program made the holidays special for local families. Gifts were collected through events, like the Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive (pictured here), the Silver Spur Toy Ride, Red Apple Fill A Sleigh Day, through participation in the SOS Angel Tree program, and dropped off to SOS. Financial donations also made sure families could choose food that was important to them over the holidays. (Lissa Alexander photo)

Gifts donated by the community to the SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program made the holidays special for local families. Gifts were collected through events, like the Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive (pictured here), the Silver Spur Toy Ride, Red Apple Fill A Sleigh Day, through participation in the SOS Angel Tree program, and dropped off to SOS. Financial donations also made sure families could choose food that was important to them over the holidays. (Lissa Alexander photo)

SOS exceeds annual Christmas campaign goal and raises total of $223,445

Help will continue for residents through the difficult winter months

By Lissa Alexander

The kindness of community members laid the foundation for bright, joyful experiences this Christmas.

“The gifts received for my child this year were extremely meaningful, and made a huge difference for our Christmas,” said Lara, a single mother (her name has been changed to protect her identity), and SOS Christmas program participant. “She was gifted her first ever brand-new bike. I was in tears receiving it for her because I could never have afforded to purchase her a new bike, and I know how useful it will be to her in getting back and forth to school.”

Thanks to donations from the community, SOS exceeded its Christmas campaign goal and raised $223,445 to meet the needs of local residents. Toy and gift donations also filled the SOS Toy Shop, where grateful parents and grandparents came to choose special items for their children. This year, in addition to hosting the Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive, staff at the resort donated 25 bikes through their Bikes for Tykes program.

Financial donations to the SOS Christmas program helped purchase grocery store gift cards for residents. Lara said this was a huge addition to their holidays, as she also cares for her senior mother.

“It’s a gift that gives to the whole family,” she said. “Because of the gift card, we were able to afford enough food to provide a delicious meal for all of us to enjoy. Not only that, we had leftovers so were able to stretch the Christmas meal into multiple subsequent meals.”

READ MORE: PQBeat: Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive aims to create Christmas joy again for 2021

The last two years have been particularly hard Lara said, with so many people out of work as a result of the pandemic. She believes many residents would have gone hungry without the SOS Christmas program and would not have been able to provide gifts for their children.

SOS will continue to help residents through the difficult winter months with a variety of programs and services for all ages. Residents in need can call SOS at 250-248-2093.

Donations to the SOS Project Rebuild Campaign will continue to help SOS reduce poverty in our region, support seniors, and help kids thrive. To support residents or learn more about Project Rebuild, visit www.sosprojectrebuild.com, call 250-248-2093 or drop by the SOS Community Services Centre in Parksville (245 West Hirst Ave.).

To learn more about SOS programs and services, visit www.sosd69.com.

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