February 22, 2020

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Cheer Board campaign celebrates success, rolls on

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Kai Madsen, Executive Director of the Christmas Cheer Board.</p>


Kai Madsen, Executive Director of the Christmas Cheer Board.

Do you believe in miracles?

After another banner year for the Miracle on Mountain fundraising campaign in support of the Christmas Cheer Board, it might be hard not to.

Winnipeg Free Press readers donated more than $60,000 to help local families enjoy a happy holiday, filled with turkey, stuffing, gravy, toys and good cheer. That’s something to celebrate, says Kai Madsen, the Cheer Board’s long-time executive director.

"It’s a very important part of our process," said Madsen, who’s celebrating his 50th season with the board, which is currently in its 100th year in operation.

The process is still ongoing: the Cheer Board is nearing its breakeven point of $850,000 — all of which goes toward paying for more than 16,500 holiday hampers and keeping the lights on in the warehouse — and generous citizens have until the end of February to help reach the goal.

From the way things have gone so far, Madsen doesn’t think it will take a miracle to get there.

"I’m always amazed by what a caring group we have in this city," he said. "People here make sure friends and neighbours are looked after at a very critical time of the year."

The Cheer Board began in 1919, as a way to support the widows and families of soldiers killed or injured during the First World War. Soon, it became clear that there was a larger group of citizens in need of support. That need still exists, Madsen said, and to fill it takes a village.

More than 3,000 volunteers pitched in, and more than 1,000 drivers climbed behind the wheel to deliver the goods. And, of course, Free Press readers made a significant impact on the community, too.

For Free Press editor Paul Samyn, that’s what the holidays are all about.

"To have once again raised this much money via the generosity of our readers says a lot about both our subscribers and this city," Samyn said. "They are kind. They are thoughtful. And they want to ensure the magic of the season can be something everyone can enjoy.

"I can’t thank them enough for making this miracle happen again."

With those contributions, reaching $850,000 shouldn’t be too tough, Madsen said.

"I think the key is to make sure if you made a donation in the past, remember to make one again," he added.

Donor information is available on the Cheer Board’s website: www.christmascheerboard.ca.


Ben Waldman

Ben Waldman

Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.

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