Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cheer board needs your help

Workers have miles to go before they sleep

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It's less than a week until Christmas and I think I am going to make it.

It has nothing to do with shopping for gifts or groceries, nothing to do with wrapping gifts or even baking (yes I do a little of that). No, it has to do with my body not giving out in the next six days.

After close to 20 years of raising money for the Christmas Cheer Board through the Free Press sports department's Spirit of Christmas campaign, this year I decided to use my brawn instead of my brains to help get close to 20,000 hampers out to more than 50,000 people in need in our community.

While I may physically hurt from the top of my head to the soles of my feet, it has been a rewarding experience. I have worked on the production line preparing hampers with students from several schools in the city. I have done the paper work for people who have elected to pick up their hampers at the cheer board's warehouse at 1395 Ellice Ave. (the old S.I.R. warehouse at Ellice and Empress). I have handed out hampers, sorted turkeys, chickens and hams. I have helped volunteer drivers heading out to deliver hampers and now I am handling hampers that couldn't be delivered, getting them back on the floor for a second attempt at delivery in the next six days.

The best part of having worked in so many areas of the cheer board is I have met a tremendous number of wonderful volunteers who willingly give their time to ensure the spirit of the season is shared by those who may be struggling at this time of the year. (I hope they aren't trying to tell me something about my contributions by bouncing me from one job to another.)

The volunteers often put their Christmas plans on hold or modify them to ensure the cheer board's work gets done before old Santa makes his rounds next week. Many spend as much time or more volunteering that they would at a full-time job and then there are some who volunteer around their full-time jobs, which makes for long days. And then there are those who help out on a spot basis depending on their schedules.

Bomber defensive standout and Free Press columnist Doug Brown stopped by Friday with teammate Obby Khan to help the kids from Ecole Ile-des-Chenes prepare 500 hampers for delivery next week. The two stacked the hampers as they came off the assembly line, giving a couple of the regular volunteers the opportunity to get some down time or move to another area to help out. It is also a huge help that the Bomber players decided to donate the fines collected this season to the cheer board rather than using it for an end of year gathering.

There is still work to be done before this year's campaign is done and you can help. The big push this weekend will focus on delivering the mountain of hampers still on the floor of the warehouse. If you have the time and inclination, stop by the warehouse (Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) talk to a checker who will put together a load of hampers and turkeys for you to deliver. If you can't drive, we can still use a few people in the warehouse -- many hands make a big job that much easier -- so either see me or Don Brown and we will find something for you to do. It won't be too taxing, but it will be helpful.

Just as important, maybe even more so, is our need for cash. The Spirit of Christmas campaign is tracking behind last year's totals and those were down from the year before that. Donations at the cheer board are tracking close to last year's numbers but still a little behind. While donations of food and toys help offset some of the costs of preparing the hampers, about $850,000 will be needed this year to balance the books. The cheer board counts on the Spirit of Christmas and Kevin Rollason's Pennies from Heaven campaign for $225,000 in donations and as you can see by today's total there is a long way to go.

The cheer board only wants to cover the costs associated with this year's efforts to help the community and that's where we need your help and in a big way. Annually, the Spirit of Christmas gets a major boost from donors like the Canadian Tire store owners in Winnipeg ($25,000 this year) and the IBM Corporate Challenge, which is still adding up this year's cash contributions. But just like building and distributing the hampers where many hands make a big job easier, so it goes with raising the necessary funds to cover the costs -- many small donations add up to erase a big tab.

So before you head out to take care of your final preparations for Christmas or deliver some hampers, please sit down and write a cheque to the Spirit of Christmas, c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, R2X 3B6. We need the cash and so does the Christmas Cheer Board.

They have the Spirit:


Ernest Holodryga $10.00

Evergreen Circle $100.00

C. Bissonnette $100.00

Alan Wareham $50.00

Dorothy Lardner $25.00

Winnipeg Harleyriders Assoc. Inc. $400.00

Urbain & Ethel Hutsebaut $100.00

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities $25,000.00

In Memory of Garvie F. Rae $50.00

In Memory of W.A. Smith $50.00

In Memory of Albert Gessner $50.00

Winnipeg Blue Bombers $1,904.18

In Memory of Harold & Douglas Kummen $200.00

Shelagh Hinch $100.00

In Memory of Aileen & Bill $100.00

Sam & Eiko Katayama $100.00

G.W. & A.L. Barnet $50.00

In Memory of Ruth Muirhead $25.00

Joyce Anderson $50.00

In Memory of Bernard Dyma $50.00

Don & Eleanor McKenzie $250.00

In Memory of Irma Arthurs & Ron Bell $200.00

Patrick J. Clarke $500.00

Michael Stones $25.00

In Memory of Cindy & David Jr. McGimpsey $300.00

R. Szajewski $200.00

In Memory of Doug McRorie $50.00

In Memory of George & Alice Smallacombe $50.00

Arlene Jones $25.00

Lorne Paterson $100.00

D. Earl $50.00

The Rod & Iron Assoc. $150.00

In Memory of Ken Ingram $25.00

Aron Klassen $100.00

In Memory of Beryl Thompson $100.00

In Memory of Pearl Penny $50.00

James & Brenda Smith $50.00

Southwood 5 Lunch Girls $25.00

Bernie Failing $100.00

In Memory of Gordon Milne $50.00

Notre Dame Seed Inc. $250.00

Kenneth F. & E. Mary Hurst $100.00

Jean Olsufka $40.00

In Memory of Cory Anderson $50.00

In Memory of Doug & Edie McMurray $50.00

In Memory of George & Lorna Anderson $50.00

St. Stephens Anglican Church Widow's Grp. $31.00

In Memory of Bernice Tough $125.00

In Memory of Jack & Jean McKay $50.00

Peterbilt Manitoba Holdings Ltd. $100.00

Elizabeth Tisdale $100.00

Roots & Culture Group $1,500.00

In Memory of Angus A. MacLeod, $400.00

Walter & Jeanne Penno & Mary Jean Wirth

Bud Irving $200.00

Lorraine Lambert $50.00

Emile & Lorraine Lambert $50.00

Kim & Rick Musick $200.00

Patricia & Robert Cavanaugh $100.00

In Memory of Dennis Wilson $100.00

Keith & Marilyn Hanna $25.00

Kevin & Gail MacAulay $120.00

In Memory of Dr. Bron. & Mary Dyma $100.00

Ian Squair $100.00

Mildred Hallama $75.00

Edward Hallama $25.00

In Memory of Kay McNeill & Helen Peterson $100.00

In Memory of Archie & Hazel Post & $50.00

John & Hilda Trojan

Free Press Newsroom Book Sale $1,054.00

Renee Guilmette $20.00

In Memory of Fred Anderson $125.00

In Memory of Steve, Jean & Cliff $75.00

Manitoba Lacrosse Alumni Assoc. $100.00

Merrill & Lynda Wozniak $50.00

Patrick & Clarice Matthews $150.00

In Memory of John Anderson $50.00

Cornelius Winter $100.00

In Memory of Daniel Regnier $50.00

Myron Nowosad $50.00

Betty Neiles $50.00

Alvin & Beverley Cox $100.00

Mr. & Mrs McColl $30.00

Norma G. Thorkelsson $25.00

In Memory of Guy & Tillie Steinhoff $35.00

Friday Morning Senior Men's Curling League $150.00

Bernice Heinrichs $100.00

In Memory of Olive Semchuk $100.00

R. Goodwin $50.00

M. & J. Trudeau $100.00

James M. Wolanin $20.00

In Memory of Wm. & Elizabeth Dyer & Sons $100.00

L. Kepron $100.00

Marion Wallace $100.00

In Memory of Ron & Edie Zimmerman $100.00

P. Joyce DeVrieze $100.00

In Memory of Muffin $30.00

The Knights of the Roundtable $515.00

Joyce & Raymond Cumming $150.00

North/South Consultants $1,766.86

Bill Richardson $100.00

In Memory of Gerry Varnes Jr. $100.00

Clients & Staff of Performance Landscaping $125.00

Larry Ober $100.00

In Memory of Leon St. Laurent $25.00

In Memory of Rob & Bob $50.00

Seniors Melody Group $150.00

In Memory of Bill Levy $100.00

In Memory of Mae & Verne Graham $25.00

Edward Shore & Kinnon Allan $35.00

Richard Lemmon $75.00

MTS Carrier Services & OP Team $75.00

K. Logan $100.00

In Memory of Ken Johnson $150.00

B. Bayes $100.00

Klaus Goede $25.00

Lorna Steeds $50.00

Mark, Kathy & Amanda $100.00

Barry Veals $100.00

J.P. Harris $50.00

Ruth Bredin $100.00

Edith E. Ruddock $25.00

In Memory of Wally Norquay $50.00

In Memory of the 3 Fabro Girls $100.00

Douglas Wright $100.00

L. McDonald $20.00

Fort Garry Chapter No. 17, $50.00

Order of the Eastern Star

Anonymous (two donation) $100.00


Previous total $23,102.66

Today's total $42,781.04

Grand total $65,883.70

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 18, 2010 D6

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