by Jean Moore-Lemoine, Community Development Coordinator
“Smoky River Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) has, for the first time, completed the new Smoky River Christmas Voucher Program, a program that provides those in need with an opportunity for greater independence in choosing their Christmas dinner. The role of Smoky River FCSS is to ‘enhance’ the lifestyles of individuals, families and communities,” says Georgia Dubois, Director of Smoky River FCSS.
“And, in providing money vouchers for the purchase of food items, we are providing people with the right to choose what they eat. This is very important as many people today have allergies or health issues that make food decisions very personal. In addition, we have many new cultures in our region.”
“The Christmas Voucher program has been successful in several areas in the province so we wanted to try it here,” says Jean Moore-Lemoine, Community Development Coordinator for Smoky River FCSS.
“The Christmas hamper program for those in need had operated in the region for more than 15 years (due) to the huge number of volunteers who committed time and energy. However, people are getting older and the hampers are not getting lighter.”
The new Christmas voucher program has been incredibly successful, once again, due to the incredible generosity of the people in this region. “We had hoped to raise between $8,000 and $10,000 to provide for the more than 60 families who applied for assistance,” says Moore-Lemoine. “And, once again, neighbours and friends have come through with a total of $10,001.11 raised and more coming in!”
Isabelle Dubrule, coordinator of this new Christmas voucher program, with the assistance of Colby Robbins, Youth Programmer purchased gifts for the children of these families. Gifts were then wrapped by volunteers and assembled for pickup.
“We continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of people in the region,” says Moore-Lemoine.
“Each year, the Christmas program shows what a community can do when everyone, businesses and individuals, works for a common goal – to better the lives of those around us.”
As the economy continues to be of concern, it is very important for people to realize that no one wants to ask for help. No one wants to need a handout! And, we all, at one point in our lives need help of some kind – even if it’s only help to find work or someone to talk to – none of us can survive totally independent of those around us.
You have, once again, created ‘A Happy Christmas’.