Sometimes we give, sometimes we receive

·3 min read

Somewhere in Chatham-Kent, there’s a little boy shooting and scoring into his very own hockey net, thanks to The Gift.

On Nov. 21, the first-ever mega-donation event brought in literal truckloads of toys, food and clothing.

But no hockey equipment.

So last week, organizers sprang into action. They heard about they youngster’s Christmas Wish List request for a hockey net and posted it on Facebook.

Within 10 minutes, an anonymous Bothwell resident stepped forward to donate exactly what was needed.

Some pucks were included as the cherries on top.

And in a few more minutes another anonymous elf offered to pick up and deliver the item to little boy’s home.

According to Brent Wilken, one of the organizers of the municipality-wide event, the donation of the net exemplifies what The Gift represents.

“It’s about the new connections being formed,” Wilken explains. “It’s about everybody coming together and accomplishing goals.

“It’s no coincidence the hockey net came from somebody in Bothwell,” he adds. “The smaller communities like Bothwell and Shrewsbury have taught us a lot about people look after each other.

“We use our togetherness to solve problems.”

Wilken says The Gift initiative validates the wisdom of agencies collaborating on a single goal and adopting best practices.

“We wanted to make sure everyone had a Christmas,” he says, especially with the pandemic creating financial hardship for many.

Wilken says the back and forth sharing between the city of Chatham and the outlying communities is a newfound strength.

“The city is just the right size,” he adds. “By coming together we’ve generated historic amounts of donations.

“We’ve got everything we need right here.”

There are many other remarkable stories.

In Shrewsbury, a Facebook post about The Gift prompted a resident to reach out on behalf of her sister Susie.

The woman was struggling economically and emotionally, distrustful of people and non-profit agencies.

She was ready to give up, so hungry she was considering sharing dog food with her fur babies.

But thanks to some caring individuals, including her sister, donations from The Gift the have provided the woman with good quality food and the basic necessities of life.

She even received toys for her beloved fur babies, Doobie and Blaze.

In another case in Chatham, an unemployed man had reached the end of this government income support. Struggling economically he became a recipient of The Gift’s bounty when his daughter and ex-partner decided to lend a hand.

The two picked up much-needed items for him at The Gift’s ‘Share Shop a kind of store set up in the old National Grocers warehouse where items from the drive were made accessible.

The story has an ironic twist and is a reminder that sometimes we give and sometimes we receive.

On May 16, the man had placed items on his doorstep for the Miracle food drive.

Little did he know that 7 months later he would receive food and personal care items donated in a similar campaign.

Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald