Charity Spotlight: This blog post was provided by Christine Hewitt, Executive Director of the CFAX Santas Anonymous Society, as part of our ongoing charity spotlight series.
Imagine a child waking up on Christmas morning without a Christmas tree, without gifts and often, without breakfast. Unfortunately this is reality for many as 1 out of 5 children live in poverty in British Columbia, and because of this, CFAX Santas Anonymous Society was born.
Armed with our Santa Bear tags, generous members of the Greater Victoria community volunteer to fulfill children’s Christmas wishes by donating new toys, clothing, and other items. We also collect monetary donations, which go toward the food portion of the hampers. Once received, all of the donated items flow through “Santa’s Workshop,” where volunteers wrap the gifts, assemble each hamper, and prepare them for pickup or delivery to local families. Every hamper is wrapped as if it were being given to a member of their own family as we know that the attention to detail and unique personal touch means the world to a child or teen on Christmas morning. But before the gifts arrive at “Santa’s Workshop,” the Christmas hamper program begins when a parent or guardian submits an application requesting help. We speak directly with each family to understand their needs and we take two gift requests for each child up to the age of 17.
On December 25, every child wakes up to a Christmas Day with presents, food, and family—giving them joy and a beautiful memory they’ll remember for years to come.
“In October 2016 I learned that I would be laid off. I was in shock and saddened after 10 years working for my former employer. A single mom, with two children I knew I had to find work soon – we already lived pay check to pay check. I secured employment in late November but wondered how I could afford Christmas for my two children. A friend suggested Santas Anonymous. The volunteers were so friendly and caring, I felt like family was helping me. Christmas morning my son had the lacrosse equipment he had wanted, and my young daughter was thrilled with her Frozen doll sets. There were stocking stuffers, 3 large bags of groceries and a food card. This helped me until I received my first pay check just after Christmas. I’m on my feet now, and I plan to give back soon.” Without Santas, we wouldn’t have had Christmas and I wouldn’t have had hope.”—CFAX Santas Anonymous Society receipient
As a 99% volunteer driven organization, CFAX Santas Anonymous promotes volunteerism from the very young to the very young at heart. In 2016, volunteers donated 19,000 hours of skills, leadership, and love to help bring a smile to local children facing poverty and the challenges life presents when families are in crisis.
For 40 years, CFAX Santas Anonymous Society is a homegrown children’s charity enhancing the lives of local children in need. While at this time of the year our focus is on our Christmas Hamper program, we run programs during the rest of the year to share the spirit of giving and support children living in poverty. Long after the Christmas decorations are tucked away, Santas participates in annual fundraising events, and ongoing planning to continue meeting the needs of our community.