Special to The NEWS
We all need a little help sometimes.
Melissa Carpenter has been taking her daughter Ausha to the TIC TAC Program (Time in Comfort for Tots and Caregivers) at SOS for two years. She said it’s good for her and other local mothers’ wellbeing. “It’s almost like counselling, you get a break and you can do arts and crafts, it’s good for the soul.”
Last year at Christmas, Melissa started to feel anxious about money, and began to worry about whether she would be able to afford any gifts for her two daughters. She is a hairdresser and said the way the economy has been recently, has made it difficult for her and her partner to get ahead. Her friends at SOS told her about the Caring for Kids at Christmas program, which ensures all local children and youth have a special gift to unwrap on Christmas morning. The program also gives grocery store gift cards to adults so they can enjoy a meaningful meal over the holidays.
Carpenter registered and was taken aback by the support she received. She was welcomed warmly into SOS for her appointment time, she enjoyed baking by local volunteers, and volunteer Christmas Elves assisted her in picking out gifts for her daughters.
“It was so amazing. I think I cried. I couldn’t believe how much they did, they were all dressed up and so kind, it was really nice. It helped me out big time.”
On Nov. 25, Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort is holding its seventh annual Toy Drive, to help fill the SOS Toy Shop. Paul Drummond, General Manager at Tigh-Na-Mara, said it’s important to him and his staff to give back to the community in this way, and help make Christmas special for local families. “From our perspective, it’s critical that we look after the community because the community looks after us. And this is definitely the time to give back to those who need a little extra help.”
Residents are invited to bring a new, unwrapped gift, gift card or monetary donation between 6:30-10 a.m. and they will receive a free breakfast in return, compliments of Tigh-Na-Mara. There is also a drive-thru breakfast for those on a tight schedule, from 7:30-10 a.m.
Last year the Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive collected 1,662 toys, $3732 in cash and cheques and $2,815 in gift cards for SOS. A total of 1,750 people attended the event.
“The day starts early for us and it goes non-stop, but for me, I get chills every time I’m at the event because it’s so heart-warming. And I think all of our team feels the same. It’s just a great way to start off the holiday season.”
Once the event is over, Drummond takes his staff over to the SOS Toy Shop to show them what they have helped create for local families. Last year he recalls seeing some teary eyes as they were leaving.
“They just felt so touched that they were able to help contribute in some small way to what we witnessed. “
Carpenter says the generosity of people who donate to the program is wonderful. And she is no stranger to helping out others in-need. She has given free haircuts to women who can’t afford them.
“I think people need to spend more time helping each other out where they can.”
Visit www.sosd69.com or call 250-248-2093 for more information about SOS and the Caring for Kids at Christmas Program.