While Santa Claus did his annual deliveries on Dec. 25, a group from Twillingate did their best impression of the man in the red suit a week earlier.
The Saturday before Christmas Day, Vicki White, Phalyn Anstey, Carrie Burt and Felicia Ford hit the road and dropped more than a dozen Christmas stockings to people around the Twillingate and New World Island area.
The idea sprang from a social media conversation between the four Twillingate women about how they could combat the blanket of negativity that has covered much of 2020.
They looked at the effect the COVID-19 pandemic, among other things, has had on families and wanted to help those who were most affected in the months that have followed the initial lockdown.
“We wanted to do something to spread a little bit of cheer,” said White.
What they came up with involved Christmas stockings for children of all ages. They didn’t put an age limit on it and focused on helping whoever they could.
“It wouldn’t be big, but it would be something,” White said of the inspiration behind the stockings.
The group aimed to collect $500 to help with what they felt they needed, but they quickly overshot their goal.
In total, they put together 21 stockings.
They dropped them off for children from the age of two to 17. Each stocking was customized for a child's age.
While most of the stockings were dropped off by the group, there were some given to the elementary school to be distributed.
Any leftover items were given to community groups in the region. Other stockings were sent to people on Fogo Island.
“The way that the year has been, it’s been kind of dampening everyone’s spirits … and a lot of people haven’t been able to work or have found it hard,” said Burt. “So, we figured it was a good thing to do between us all to try and get some things together for families that don’t have much.”
The reaction they got made everything worth it. There were smiles and well wishes as they accumulated the items for the stockings.
Then, on delivery day as they dropped off each stocking, there were some tears from some and plenty of smiles from others.
“(The response) exceeded what I expected,” said Ford. “It was rewarding to give people in need a little extra, but I had someone really special to me who was going through a hard time … and I was able to give her a stocking and it really made her Christmas.”
The response the group received during each stage of the process has them already thinking about doing the same thing next year.
The Christmas stockings were not the only items the group put together for people over the holidays.
Once their stockings were dropped off, there were some requests for food hampers, and they were only too willing to help.
“How can you say no? You can’t,” said White.
Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice