The need to fulfil wishes for kids with life-threatening illnesses "has never been greater for us," staff with Children's Wish/Make a Wish P.E.I. chapter say.
The organization's development co-ordinator Jennifer Gillis says they are working on 38 wishes for Island children — the highest number at one time that they've tried to grant in the chapter's 34-year history.
Gillis said they can't pinpoint exactly why, but said it is at least partially due to the growth of the organization and more outreach, as well as people becoming more aware of the work they do.
COVID-19 has also delayed many wishes.
"Right now, there are wishes that have been postponed because of COVID-19 and that number grows every day as this crisis continues," Gillis said.
"COVID-19 has made it challenging to grant specific types of wishes, but we continue granting all the wishes we can."
One type of wish that has been put on hold this year due to the pandemic has been travel wishes. Many children are now receiving wishes for items instead.
"These are items that we're able to deliver right to their front door while respecting COVID-19 health and safety guidelines," Gillis said.
We've been working really hard to look at alternatives so we can still make these wishes come true. — Jennifer Gillis
They've granted four wishes in the past month, including an entertainment room for one child that was delivered in boxes to the front door. Gillis said the child was able to look through the window and see that their wish was granted.
Other item wishes include camping gear and playgrounds.
"It's limitless to their imagination of what their most heartfelt wish would be," Gillis said.
'The hope of a wish has remained essential'
Raising money to support wishes has been hard during the pandemic.
Seventy-five per cent of the organization's revenue is raised during events usually held from April to October — many of which are mass gatherings.
Events during these prime fundraising months have been postponed, but partner organizations have stepped up and held their own drives to help out the Children's Wish/Make a Wish P.E.I. chapter.
For instance this weekend, the Red Knights Motorcycle Club will have its annual fundraising ride on P.E.I. and will donate proceeds to Children's Wish for the first time.
Children's Wish has also looked at different funding models, like virtual fundraising — anything they can do to make wishes still come true safely.
"We've been working really hard to look at alternatives so we can still make these wishes come true because we have found that despite COVID and everything going on and the world stopping the need for the hope of a wish has remained essential."
More from CBC P.E.I.