It started with a simple post last Tuesday night: the Community Hamper Association’s Angel Tree program was going to be in need of a sudden influx of toy donations if it was going to meet its commitments for this year.
And with 430 children on its list for this year, that was a lot of toys that needed to be purchased.
The Angel Tree has been a part of the Community Hamper Association longer than many of us have been alive. Each year, it ensures that hamper recipients with a child or children are able to provide a gift for those kids, thanks to the generosity of those who donate toys or cash to the Angel Tree.
Some years they only needed a couple hundred toys. And in some years, they have been able to provide more than one toy or gift for children on their list.
The demand has been higher the past few years than it was, say, a decade ago, but they’ve always been able to meet the objective, because the community believes in what they’re doing. Last year, the association needed more than 500 toys, an incredibly high number.
So when the hamper association came out and said they were short with only a few days to go, you knew the community would step up. That’s what we do.
Within days, a number of large donations came in, allowing the association to purchase the toys they needed. And of course, they received lots of toys as well.
If you’re new to the community, you might be surprised with the outpouring of support for the hamper association and its Angel Tree, and some of the other initiatives we have happening in the community at this time of year.
But for those of us who live in Estevan and call this community home, it’s a story that we’ve heard countless times. And it never gets old.
We’re known for generosity throughout the year. From the United Way Estevan’s telethon, to the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation fundraisers, to benefits for people and families in need, we’re willing to open the purse strings and help others.
Yes, we want to know where our donation money is going and how it’s going to help others. Everybody wants to know that, especially in this day and age. Nobody wants to donate to a cause, only to find out their donation has gone to postage or charitable overhead.
For many organizations in Estevan and in Saskatchewan, we know their story. We know how much they mean to the community. And we know that when we donate to an agency, the money will go to help the people that need it.
It’s the advantage of having organizations run by volunteers, or have just one or two employees.
And organizations that start up in Estevan know that they are coming to a community filled with generous people.
Estevan isn’t alone among Saskatchewan communities when it comes to being supportive with time, talent and/or money. Every Saskatchewan community is known for its volunteer spirit, for its willingness to help out other people.
Saskatchewan is often leading the country in hours volunteered per capita, and we’re near the top in money donated to charity per capita, too.
Much of it can be chalked up to our small-town, rural roots. It’s amazing what a difference it can make when you live in a community where seemingly everybody knows everybody, and everybody is willing to help out.
But even when you go into Regina or Saskatoon, and encounter people who have spent minimal time in rural Saskatchewan, you’ll find people willing to lend a helping hand.
Telemiracle, the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation, non-profits big and small, there’s a never-ending list of organizations that happen through support from the people of Saskatchewan.
The Angel Tree is a simple but wonderful organization that anybody can get behind. And it’s one of many organizations that we’re thankful to have here. They’re thankful, no doubt, to be in Estevan.
If you didn’t support the Angel Tree, there are still other options in the community for your support before Christmas.