Chatham-Kent getting into the holiday spirit with The Gift

The Gift logo for Chatham-Kent fundraiser. (Courtesy TheGiftck.ca)

Chatham-Kent volunteers are striving to make sure the holiday spirit reaches every person in every community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers have put out a call for help and say momentum is already building across Chatham-Kent for The Gift.

The Gift is expected to be the biggest community holiday hamper program in Chatham-Kent history. To date, 23 community hamper organizations, citizens and other groups from across the municipality have joined together to make sure no one is left behind.

“For the first time in our 66-year history, we are working with every hamper program in Chatham-Kent. This is going to be epic,” says Goodfellows Chatham president Tim Haskell.

Alley Matthews Salvation Army manager says “this is catching on like fire.”

After announcing The Gift on Oct. 15, organizers say the call for volunteers has been phenomenal. In just 15 days, over 1500 volunteers and over 110 community captains from every community in Chatham-Kent have officially registered to help.

“It’s an outpouring of generosity and compassion for each other that we first welcomed during the May 16 Miracle and we hope to build on ever more this holiday season.” Say organizers. “We have had an amazing response from the community so far and would like to invite everyone to participate in our next monumental task –getting prepared to decorate every inch of Chatham-Kent.”

The next community call is to help us spread the holiday spirit in a very visible way – with decorations.

The group will be encouraging and helping everyone to decorate their homes or businesses with lights, hand painted signs, whatever it takes to share the holiday spirit and brighten up neighbourhoods.

Volunteers will be making decorations and signs to distribute across the community. Anyone with decorating supplies to donate to the cause can be dropped off this Saturday and Sunday between 10 a.m. and 2p.m. at The Chatham Gift Workshop, located in the large warehouse one building east of Lally Kia on Richmond Street in Chatham.

“Anything at all that can be made into a decoration or sign is welcome: for example, scrap wood, real estate signs, paint brushes, paint rollers, buckets, any type of paint, tyvek, scrap craft supplies, holiday decorations, Christmas lights, etc. We need it all,” say organizers.

If you are unable to drop them off this weekend, please email thegiftck.ca@gmail.com and we will arrange a pickup.

“We are so excited to be part of this amazing holiday initiative to generate even more holiday spirit this holiday season. Everyone needs a bit of extra holiday cheer this year especially. Decorating and brightening our homes and neighbourhoods will be a great way to spread some warmth of community and together,” says Jackie Beatty Bothwell with the Toy and Hamper Program.

The Gift is open to everyone. If you or your organization want to help build decorations or help any way, register at thegiftck.ca or email thegiftck.ca@gmail.com.