PICTOU – Christmas is a time to cherish family, friends and loved ones, not stress over whether you have enough money to put food on the table or purchase gifts for your children.
Thanks to the Pictou County Christmas Fund, that decision has been made easier.
For the 42nd year, the fund is preparing to provide food gift cards for families in need this holiday season.
“The Pictou County Christmas Fund will take place on November 27 from 1 to 7 p.m. at the deCoste Centre in Pictou,” says Debbie VanSickle, chair of the fund.
The Christmas telethon will be aired live on both EastLink TV and East Coast FM radio.
“We have some local entertainment throughout the day as well as a few surprises.”
The goal this year is to raise $80,000, the same as last year’s goal. “We always seem to meet our goal, but we don’t want to push it because we know there are a lot of causes campaigning, especially this time of year.”
VanSickle says last year, the fund was able to help more than 1,400 local families by providing a Christmas dinner.
“That’s what it’s all about. It’s nice when you sit down to Christmas dinner and know that everyone in Pictou County is also able to sit down to a nice Christmas dinner.”
The number of recipients of the food gift cards continues to increase yearly, with recipients
receiving the cards two weeks after the telethon.
“That’s why we ask people to honour their pledges early,” she says. “So that we can provide these families with the gift cards in time to get their groceries before Christmas.”
Registration date for Pictou has yet to be determined, but the New Glasgow dates will take place November 16, 17 and 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Summer Street Industries. A health card is required for all members of the family; dispersement dates will be released after the telethon.
“It’s not just for families that receive social assistance, it’s for anyone who has a need at Christmas time,” notes VanSickle. “It’s not based on income, we just want everyone in Pictou County to have groceries at Christmas and maybe be able to free up money to buy their child a present.”
VanSickle says many of the event volunteers return year after year, so there is not a dire need for volunteers at this time, however, anyone interested in helping out next year can visit the Facebook page, Pictou County Christmas Fund Telethon.
“We’re like a well-oiled machine now.”
Those who honour their pledges within the first week after the telethon will be entered in a number of early bird draws.
“Pledges can be honoured at The Advocate office, The News, East Coast FM, or any bank or credit union in the county.
“We’d really like to see people come down to the deCoste and watch the show. There’s no fee and you don’t have to make a donation unless you want to.”
VanSickle goes on to note that $20, $25 and $50 pledges, although becoming more popular, shouldn’t deter people from making $5 and $10 pledges.
“We really miss the $5 and $10 pledges because they add up quickly. They are just as important as larger donations. We also like when people put out challenges because it gets more people involved.”
For groups that collect funds prior to the telethon, a pledge of $100 or more can be donated live on-air, just show up at the deCoste the day of the event.
For more information on the Pictou County Christmas Fund, visit the Facebook page.