Secret Santa requests reflect Comox Valley economy

Pamela Jolin has never seen so many requests for warm clothes instead of toys for kids, which she said reflects the Valley's economy.

Pamela Jolin has never seen so many requests for warm clothes instead of toys for kids, which she said reflects the Valley’s economy.

As organizer of the Secret Santa program for First Insurance Agencies, she said the fact that necessities are asked for shows some families really need extra help during the holidays.

“I mean the kids aren’t asking for the moon; they’re asking for the necessities in life,” said Jolin.

Parents are “asking for winter clothes for their kids instead of toys. There just isn’t money for the fun stuff their kids need.”

Jolin added that if a young child requested a winter coat, they’re going to receive a small toy as well.

“Santa, to me, wouldn’t bring just a winter coat to a little kid,” she explained.

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.

Trees were set up with information tags at partner locations where people could choose a tag and shop for a requested gift for a local child in need. The tags had pseudonyms to protect the child’s privacy.

The program collected toys for 785 kids, split about half and half in the Comox Valley and Campbell River, this year.

Now, volunteers will anonymously deliver the gifts to the parents of the registered children, for opening on Christmas day. Jolin said she expects to have all the gifts delivered by the end of the day today.

Jolin said the program has been growing each year since it started in 2001, adding that 197 kids received gifts in the program’s first year, and 696 kids received gifts in 2010.

“I think we have more community participation now. Every year we end up with increased community support,” she explained. “It amazes me, the generosity of the community. It just warms my heart.”

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

Just Posted

Funder for Down Under in Courtenay raises thousands for Australia

Organizers still tallying up proceeds but expect to donate at least $8,000

Fourteen Comox Valley kids get bikes through Share the Ride

Several businesses combine efforts to get bikes and other cycling gear

Comox Valley artist’s mask heading to prestigious U.S. museum

John and Peggy Varnedoe purchased the piece and have donated it to the Burke Museum in Seattle.

Perseverance Week raises more than $155,000 for Cumberland Community Forest Society

The Cumberland Forest’s Perseverance Week (Oct. 21-31, 2019) fundraising drive totals are… Continue reading

Musical feast celebrates Lunar New Year in Courtenay

Chai Found Music Workshop performs contemporary take on Chinese music Jan. 27

‘Epic sky palace’: B.C. businesses help create dream treehouse for boy recovering from cancer

‘It was kind of a bright shining beacon at the end of a horrible, dark tunnel’

B.C. teacher suspended for poking student in stomach, pulling another’s ponytail

Teacher also swore in classroom, used Facebook to contact students

Larry Walker Jr. and Sr. keeping expectations low for hall-of-fame induction

Walker needs 75 percent of votes in order to be inducted into Cooperstown

Courtenay residential care facility gathering feedback about housing idea

The Glacier View Lodge Society is garnering public feedback about its idea… Continue reading

Gene Simmons to launch new Titans of Rock music festival in Grand Forks

The rock legend has partnered with Chuck Varabioff to run Titans of Rock in Grand Forks

VIDEO: 17 Husky pups rescued from Interior B.C. property find new homes

The BC SPCA caught the moment on video the last puppy, Uki, met his owners

U.S. officials confirm first case of Wuhan coronavirus near Seattle

The U.S. is the fifth country to report seeing the illness

Police recover body of Tofino man near Hot Springs Cove

An RCMP dive team has recovered the body of a Tofino man in his 50s.

Most Read