It started with a nickel in an ashtray.
That was several years ago at the Comox Legion where Al Barrett, Cameron Hayward and other frequenters of the ‘knowledge table’ decided to start a Christmas basket. The idea was to collect money to donate to those in need.
“And it started growing,” Barrett said, recalling the first nickel was tossed into the ashtray as a joke.
The ashtray was eventually replaced with a toy bank.
“Anything from the floor goes in the pot,” Hayward quipped.
Over the course of about five years, the 15 or so individuals have raised about $10,000 in food coupons for single mothers and others who have fallen on hard times. The coupons, which are plastic cards from Quality Foods, are usually worth about $200.
The group approaches church pastors to determine worthy recipients. Their only stipulation is that money does not support alcohol or drug dependency.
“We do have problems finding people (recipients),” Barrett said.
“Just make a few people happy at Christmas time,” he added. “It’s no big deal.”