Although Christmas may be a ways off in the calendar, You Are Not Alone (YANA) is gearing up for its annual Christmas fundraiser — and it needs community help.
YANA’s popular Christmas cracker campaign raises funds to help Comox Valley families who must travel to receive medical care for their sick children.
The popular crackers will go on sale in November, but YANA needs volunteers to help make the crackers starting Oct. 1.
YANA director Sue Bowie says volunteers have fun and contribute to a good cause when they get together to make the crackers.
“It’s fun, it really is,” says Bowie. “Everybody has a good time and you meet new people. It’s for an excellent cause and it’s a Valley tradition to come make them, and to buy them.”
YANA plans to create 5,000 crackers before November rolls around. While most crackers feature the traditional coloured hat, quote and toy, 50 of them will include a special prize and one will include the grand prize, which will be announced soon.
Last year, it was a gold, diamond and sapphire ring from Mark the Gold Guy at Comox Valley Pawnbrokers, who has donated the grand prize each year for many years.
Volunteers can help out during drop-in times from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during October, with the exclusion of Thanksgiving Monday. YANA is located at 495 Fitzgerald Ave. in Courtenay.
YANA also plans to make the crackers on some Saturdays in October, again with the exclusion of the first weekend of the month due to Thanksgiving.
Also, if a group of six or more friends or co-workers would like to volunteer together they can sign up for an evening on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Groups must register and can do so by calling 250-871-0343.
Volunteers are asked to refrain from bringing children when making the crackers because the small YANA office can get chaotic.
The crackers will be sold for $2.50 at various businesses, and at the YANA office in November.
YANA has assisted families that have to travel from the Comox Valley to seek medical help for their children since 1986. It also has four fully stocked apartments in Vancouver for families to stay in when visiting the BC Children’s Hospital.
YANA’s Christmas cracker co-ordinator Lesley Hunter notes the crackers are “a Christmas tradition” in the Valley, and she looks forward to meeting new volunteers.
“It’s an opportunity to give your time and meet other volunteers — make new friendships,” she said.
For more information, visit www.yanacomoxvalley.com.