While Christmas and the holidays might be over, the benefits from the giving season will continue to affect members of the community.
The Signal Point Gaming’s Festival of Trees wrapped up shortly before Christmas, raising more than 1,300 toys and food items.
Over the course of a month, 12 Christmas trees decorated by local charities and non-profits were displayed around Signal Point. Individuals could stop by the gaming centre and, in return for a donation, vote for the tree of their choice.
Based on the voting, the favourite trees were the Williams Lake Lion’s Club, the Cariboo Chilcotin Metis Association, and the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre.
Each of the three organizations will receive a share of Signal Point’s Found Money in mid-February.
“With that cash donation, in January February and March, families are needing extra support so we hold it for them for that time too,” said Coleen Onofrechuk, intake manager at the Child Development Centre.
“It’s just a really fantastic event and we’re happy to be part of it,” said Shawna Phillips, vice president of Signal Point Gaming.
“It’s just to share in the Christmas spirit and to bring something back to our community.”
The canned goods and toys were donated to the Women’s Contact Society, Child Development Centre, Canadian Mental Health Association, Association for Community Living and the Boys and Girls Club on Dec. 21.
Some picked out toys for their families for Christmas, and others gathered goods to pack into hampers, but also to stretch into the new year.
The Women’s Contact Society was collecting food for some of their last-minute hampers, but also had plans for January.
“Anything that is left over will be added to the food shelf at the Women’s Contact Society where people can come in and take what they need,” said Irene Willsie, executive director.
“I’m always overwhelmed by the generosity of this community and it’s been a really difficult year for all of us,” she said.
“There are many families out there who are really short on funds and short on food so this is a tremendous help and the toys will brighten the day for some children.
“If we work together as a community we can really help out so thank you to the community.”
Onofrechuk echoed the sentiment:
“With everything we’ve gone through — over the summer too — it’s just amazing that everyone is coming out and are just so generous in its time of need.”
For Signal Point’s part, Phillips said she is thrilled they overtook last year’s numbers in donations.
“Thank you to the fantastic people who came in and voted for their favourite tree, because this wouldn’t happen without them.”