Submitted by Kay Knox
Clearwater Rotary’s efforts to brighten Christmas in our area began well before the Light-up on the first Sunday in December.
“I need your donations to buy gifts for the residents of Evergreen Acres and Forest View,” Hazel Wadlegger reminded us in early November. “That way we can watch for sales.”
She, Isabell Hadford and Sherry Heir were soon shopping locally for items to fill 80 bags. Other Rotarians were on hand later to fill cheerful Christmas bags donated by Pharmasave. Sixty of these bags were distributed to Evergreen Acres by Larissa Hadley and Abbey Bates on Dec. 21; the other 20 were handed out by staff to patients in Forest View on Christmas Day. Rotarians had personally covered about two-thirds of the cost.
“We’ll certainly miss the Dollar Store,” Wadlegger mentioned at a recent meeting. “They have always given us such good value for our money.”
Along with the above-mentioned purchases, Tim Hortons gift certificates, candies from the Royal Bank and Larissa, scarves donated by Tay Briggs and dish cloths made by Diane Marlow, those bags were over-flowing.
Abbey Bates organized the COVID-friendly Light-up, with Isabell Hadford, Dwayne Thiessen, Margot Venema and Tim Panko helping to decorate the front of the Information Centre and putting lights on Jerry the Moose.
A Christmas Tree and Santa’s chair were placed on the front porch. Santa and Mrs. Claus were there on the night of Dec. 5 to flick on the lights of the towering tree, wave to the children and collect letters. Venema, Rachael Elliot, Alex Kramer, Wadlegger and Panko acted as Santa’s elves and traffic wardens to keep the flow of cars running smoothly through the parking lot of the Information Centre.
Like many other individuals, groups and churches, Rotary supports the food bank in making Christmas more special for those needing extra assistance. The cost of two loaded hampers, which included mitts made by Ursula Schaer, winter clothing, socks, shirts, cups and hot chocolate as well as the usual delicious Christmas fare, were covered. Schaer and Jean Nelson also knitted multiple pairs of mitts that were included in the rest of the food bank’s Christmas hampers.
Following COVID rules, Rotary held its Christmas Social in the Upper Clearwater Hall this year, choosing to have a pot luck dinner, and using their money to play two fundraising games instead of spending it on an expensive meal out.
Ursula and Fritz Schaer ran a Swiss Auction which raised $620 towards the Community Christmas Dinner, along with Sharon McKay winning a beautiful picture which Ursula had embroidered. (Rotarians were some of the busy, busy elves preparing and delivering that much-anticipated, delicious meal spear-headed by Councillor Shelley Sim.)
To top off the evening, a contest run by Heir gave Elliot a “liquid” prize, and raised $470 for the Rotary Disaster Relief Fund. This donation is being tripled from the Rotary Club’s funds, but is still a drop in the bucket, given what people in our district and province have lost during fires and floods this past year.
Consequently, money raised from the weather-dependent Fish Derby, called Ice Man Days and optimistically set for Jan. 30, will be added to this relief fund. More details about this popular event to follow.
For a list of all who have bolstered our efforts with donations and assistance, please check the Clearwater Info Board on Facebook.
Impressed by Rotary’s efforts to help others? Need more information? Phone President Alex Kramer (250-674-3425) or Eileen Sedgwick (250-674-2400).