Helping ‘spread Christmas cheer’ for fourth year in a row

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TRENTON — Christmas will be a little bit brighter for some local residents.

Nicole LeBlanc is continuing with the project she spearheaded, Spreading Christmas Cheer in Pictou County.

“I started doing this in honour of my grandmother Evelyn, who had been in and out of hospital during Christmas time.” Her grandmother had a bulletin board at the foot of her hospital bed where all of the greeting cards and drawings she received were tacked.

“Whenever she looked at those cards it brought a smile to her face and it made her happy,” LeBlanc said.

“I️ saw how happy they made her, especially given how sick she was, and how they really brightened up her otherwise bland hospital room. I started to think you don’t control when you’re in the hospital and it just gives people something to smile about. I thought of those who maybe didn’t have family support, or perhaps loved ones nearby, and how a simple gesture of a card just might brighten someone’s spirits during the holiday season, or even someone with an emergency and having to spend Christmas Eve in the hospital.”

So LeBlanc decided to help spread the joy and this is the fourth year she and her elves will be be doing it.

Simply put, “It’s a Christmas card collection to help keep spirits bright,” LeBlanc said. She collects the cards and, with a team of elves, makes sure they’re filled out and then delivered around the community to nursing homes and the hospital.

Over the past three years, the number of cards she has delivered has grown.

“The first year I received 400 cards; the next year it was 4,000.”

And the delivery spots have also multiplied over the years. LeBlanc takes suggestions as to who could use some cheering up during the holidays but the cards are delivered to the hospital, nursing homes, Northumberland Veterans Unit — anywhere that people suggest.

And local schools have gotten involved.

“It’s probably the sweetest thing ever,” smiled LeBlanc. “Kids get it, they understand that there’s people who maybe need a little extra help at Christmas time and they know that drawing a picture or just filling out a nice card for them is something nice to do. And there’s so many wonderful teachers and educators in the community that when I put the call out there most of them have their classes prepare cards. And the cards and messages that come in are just so sweet and pure, wonderful Christmas spirit-type messages.”

For anyone who has extra Christmas cards, or would like to fill some out (generic), they will be used with love and compassion. Contact Spreading Christmas Cheer in Pictou County on Facebook.

“If your place of work would like to be a drop-off location, let me know. Or if you would like to help fill out cards, or help deliver once they’re ready, let me know.”

LeBlanc is quick to thank others for their support. “None of this would be possible without the support of all of the elves out there who donate cards, the teachers and educators who support their students in making cards, people who make handmade cards and those who donate extras from last year, or grab an extra package during their holiday shopping. A special thanks also to the workers and volunteers at the various locations who help to distribute the cards once delivered.

“It’s truly a wonderful and beautiful annual collection, and although we don’t see who receives the cards or how it makes them feel, we know that we’re doing something good.”

How it works

• Fill out Christmas cards with generic messages

• Drop off cards by December 13 at these locations: The Advocate office at 21 George St., Pictou; The New Glasgow Farmers Market during market open hours; any Scotiabank in Pictou County; United Way of Pictou County office at 342 Stewart St., New Glasgow; Plush Esthetic Studio, 50 John St., New Glasgow; Bubble Tree Children’s Boutique, 215 Foord St., in Stellarton; Playtime at Dodie’s, 10492 Sherbrooke Rd., New Glasgow.

• A team of elves will deliver the cards to local nursing cards and hospitals

Chloe Hatt, left, and Melia MacKenzie show the cards they made for the fourth annual Spreading Christmas Cheer in Pictou County campaign. The two are sixth graders at Trenton Middle School and made the cards at school. (Submitted photo)

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