Christmas Wish Breakfast organizer Vanessa Riplinger of the Child Development Centre and Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb stand by to greet guests at the annual Christmas Wish Breakfast Tuesday morning. The event helps makes Christmas brighter for those in need. Angie Mindus photo

Christmas Wish Breakfast underway

Donations help make Christmas brighter for those in need

Volunteers and supporters of the Christmas Wish Breakfast Tuesday morning showed just how much they care for local children in need.

In its 11th year, the annual event was held at a new location this year at Boston Pizza and saw hundreds of guests bring a donation of cash or toys in exchange for being treated to a lovely breakfast, with many volunteers on hand to help serve.

All proceeds from the breakfast go towards providing Christmas gifts to local children in need.

“Everything goes back to the community,” said Vanessa Riplinger of the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre Association (CCCDCA), who organizes the event.

“The wish breakfast is something that is really dear to my heart. It helps kids who might not have a Christmas, from babies to youth. The gifts are taken back to the child development centre and given to agencies like the CCCDCA who work with families that find Christmas more of a difficult time than something that’s really joyful,” said Riplinger.

“We gather the gifts and give them to the families so that they can give them to their children at Christmas so that everybody can have a really special Christmas.”

CCCDCA executive director Nancy Gale was also on hand for the breakfast.

“For me, I’m always amazed and humbled by the generosity of the community,” Gale said, noting that more than 1,000 donated gifts will be distributed between 70 service providers to families in need this year.

“We know it’s good for your heart, good for your soul and good for your mental health to give, and the Christmas Wish Breakfast provides that outlet for people.”

Gale said many families are still recovering from the summer of wildfires and evacuations, with the CCCDCA seeing an increase in families needing support and children with anxiety, she said.

“We are trying to find more activities for children to do after school and more affordable things for families to do together,” Gale said, adding many children carry fears that the fires will happen again.

Gale said collectively Williams Lake needs to find better strategies for moving past the wildfires and to redefine what community means for people living here.

The CCCDCA is also hosting their anual Yuletide diner Dec. 13 in which Christmas dinner is served to those families or individuals who are experiencing difficult times and might not otherwise experience a true holiday meal. Held with their Yuletide partners Sacred Heart Parish and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the dinner will take place from 4 to 7 p.m.

The cost of sponsoring an individual plate is $11 and the cost of a family of four is $44.

Anyone wishing to make a cash or gift donations can do so all this week at the CDC office located at 690 Second Avenue North.

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