The House of Lazarus and Community Food Share are once again hosting the North Dundas Christmas Fund (NDCF) for 2021, which aims to bring joy to local struggling families during the holiday season. The NDCF provides a seasonal basket, gifts, and snowsuits to families for their children aged 13 or younger. The program typically provides about 200 snowsuits and food hampers each year, and the snowsuits are available immediately to those in need – there is no need to wait until Christmas.
Like all charitable initiatives, the North Dundas Christmas Fund would not be possible without the support of the local community. Monetary donations are required to supply snowsuits to the children, and for food baskets for those in need in North Dundas. Donations are greatly appreciated, and there are three ways to give. Email money transfers can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, cheque donations can be mailed to PO Box 27, South Mountain, K0E 1W0, or donations can be made in person at Winchester BMR, a business that proudly supports the initiative.
All local schools have been approached by the NDCF about doing food drives, although it is not yet clear which schools will participate. Parents with children who attend a school in North Dundas are invited to contact their child’s school administration directly to ask if the school will be participating, and for details on how to donate.
Families in need who are hoping to benefit from what the NDCF has to offer must preregister. Registration is already open, and runs until November 29. Registration is done over the phone by contacting the Community Food Share at 613-774-0188, or the House of Lazarus at 613-989-3830. Residents are invited to call on behalf of themselves, or on behalf of a family who they know is struggling, but are reminded that late registrations cannot be accommodated. A representative of the NDCF spoke with the Times and asked that the public be reminded that only one Christmas basket can be provided per family. She also pointed out that there are similar programs available in other locales, so registration for the NDCF is open to residents of North Dundas only. Furthermore, she reminded residents who leave a phone message upon registering to make sure that their voicemail box is not full so that whoever calls them back will be able to leave a message, if needed.
The Times reached out to NDCF Secretary, Nancy Torrance, who pointed out that “this is not a recent initiative, and has continued and grown every year.” Nancy commented that the initiative has had to evolve with changes, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and with differences in how people contribute, such as by email money transfer. When asked how it feels to provide this service to the community, Nancy responded, “We are happy to provide a much-needed service to families in need. Occasionally, someone to whom we have given a hand up takes the time to express their appreciation, which is very gratifying. Usually though, we just sort out our thoughts, pay our bills, and get ready to do it all again next year.”
NDCF Chair, Bob Weagant, also spoke to the Times, painting a picture of the NDCF as a well-oiled machine, with 8-10 people who each know their own jobs and meet yearly to make the event a success. “The need is always there, and it’s always met,” he said. North Dundas residents are kindly asked to consider donating.
Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times