Secret Santa program

The annual Secret Santa program is underway, and will run till Dec. 15, says First Insurance Agencies.

The annual Secret Santa program is underway, and will run till Dec.  15, says First Insurance Agencies.

This is the program’s 11th year, and organizers expect it to be bigger than ever. Since its inception in 2001, Secret Santa has provided an increasing number of gifts to families in need.

This year, it’s expected that through the public’s generosity, over 700 children in Campbell River and the Comox Valley  will be reached.

The Secret Santa concept, which is co-sponsored by JET-FM and the Comox Valley Record, is a simple one.

There are a great many families in our communities for whom Christmas is a financial burden that simply cannot be overcome.

Rather than leave these children without gifts this holiday season, Secret Santa provides a means for individuals to anonymously purchase a gift from a real child’s wishlist, and have that gift connected with the child in time for Christmas.

Children’s names are submitted to a central registry at First Insurance. Those names and wishes are recorded and then given a pseudonym to protect the individual’s privacy.

Next, that information is transferred to a gift tag decoration, which is placed on a participating Christmas tree at one of several partner locations throughout the participating communities. Anyone who wishes to purchase a gift for one of these special children can pick a tag off any tree, go shopping and then return the unwrapped gift to the same location, or any one of the First Insurance offices.

Finally, volunteers  anonymously deliver the gifts to the parents of the registered children, for opening on Christmas day.

Pamela Jolin, a longtime staff member with First Insurance, has enjoyed participating as the program has evolved.

“Over the years, the Secret Santa program has grown tremendously. It’s so humbling and always reminds us of the true meaning of the season,” says Jolin.

The stories of people touched by Secret Santa have left a permanent impression on those who volunteer their time or generously donate gifts and cash to the program.

Some of the most heartwarming and memorable Christmas wishes are those that were the most modest: not flashy toys or sophisticated electronics, instead things like warm winter boots or new bedding.

This year, trees will be located in all First Insurance offices. In the Comox Valley, trees are located at Ascent Physio, Courtenay Family Chiropractic, Cumberland Dental, Curves (Courtenay), Dairy Queen, Driftwood Dental, Glacier Greens, Plates, Shoppers Drug Mart, South Country Feed, and Fitness Excellence, plus the three First Insurance offices.

To register a child, simply fill out and return one of the registration forms published in the Comox Valley Record or the Campbell River Mirror, or pick up a form from any one of the First Insurance offices. The identities of registered families is held in the strictest confidence and great care is taken to ensure that the gifts are delivered discreetly.

To purchase a gift for one of these children (maximum value $50), just pick a tag off any of the Secret Santa trees and go shopping.

It is the goal of program organizers that no child in the community is left to greet Christmas morning without a gift. If you are unable to shop, you can also participate by donating to the program, and one of the Secret Santa volunteers will do the shopping for you.

For more information, residents can call First Insurance at 250-703-0858 or 1-800-655-5255 or visit any one of the Comox, Courtenay or Campbell River offices.

— First Insurance

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The platanthera dilatata is the fragrant white bog orchid whose perfume on a hot August day is one of the unforgettable delights of a summer hike in Strathcona Park. Photo supplied
Strathcona Wilderness Institute AGM upcoming

The Strathcona Wilderness Institute (SWI) will hold its 2021 annual general meeting… Continue reading

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

Cumberland council is backing the business association again. File photo
Cumberland backs homeless veteran count

Briefs: Council continues support for business association

Courtenay Nissan’s Matthew Bourassa, Geoff Piper and Sean LaFleur join YANA’s Ashley Smith, Kelly Rusk and Lisa Wilcox for the 4x4x48 event to raise funds. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay Nissan eats and runs for YANA

Dealership realized non-profit groups need new ways to raise funds during COVID

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Most Read