‘The Gift’ returns to CK alongside Goodfellows and Salvation Army donation campaigns
November 12, 2021 5:16 a.m.
The organizers of a major holiday giving campaign in Chatham-Kent are working to improve accountability as they prepare for their second annual giving campaign next week.
The event known as Gift will take place on November 20, 2021. On this day, every household in Chatham-Kent is invited to donate food, clothing or toys on their porch at noon and volunteers will pick them up and distribute them to needy families until at Christmas.
GiftBrent Wilken, captain of the Blenheim and Southwest Chatham area, told CK News Today that the event is once again based on trust with no set rules, controls or goals. Gift is not a registered charity and has no paid staff or budget.
Wilken said Gift “captains âhelp organize the collection, then distribute what is collected where they deem necessary based on their discretion and their perceived need in their area – no questions asked. He also admitted that disclosure, proof of recipient income, and donation tracking is something the group wants to do better in the future.
âAll areas do their own thing. Gift belongs to everyone. It’s purely community-based, âsaid Wilken. âChatham-Kent has the opportunity, with all our efforts to Gift and others, to get more people on vacation than ever.
Wilken said even though Gift does not work directly with the Goodfellows or the Salvation Army this year, these two registered charities are welcome to share their donation pool.
He said donations collected by Gift will also benefit other charities, such as Rock Missions, Chatham-Kent Victims Services, Chatham-Kent Children’s Services and others who have difficulty but are reluctant to seek help from charities.
Wilken noted that more volunteers are needed and said there is still a lot of work to be done until the end of the year, but the group is ahead of last year in terms of planning as the public knows what to expect this year.
Wilken said it was difficult to predict how much will be increased this year as people are busier than last year with the economy reopening, but added that whatever happens it will be fine. Last year, Gift raised $ 3 million in donations and had 5,000 volunteers.
Giftthis year’s operations are located in downtown Chatham, adjacent to the Goodfellows location.
When asked if they consider Gift was walking on their toes with its parallel donation campaign, the Chatham Goodfellows – entering their 67th annual campaign locally – noted that they were supporting Gift last year by providing facilities, publicity and many volunteers for what at the time was considered a âone-time eventâ.
The Goodfellows also noted that last year they had been unable to fundraise or muster the more than 2,000 volunteers who typically help them each year due to the pandemic. This year, however, they are returning to their traditional fundraising campaign.
âEach year, the Chatham Goodfellows depend on generous donations, not only of food and toys, but also of money, to enable us to purchase the perishables used to fill Christmas baskets. Without cash donations, we would be unable to purchase turkeys, milk, potatoes, carrots, fruit, and non-perishable items in bulk. Last year was a difficult year as we were unable to raise the funds necessary to purchase the perishable items, âsaid Chatham Goodfellows President Tim Haskell.
The Chatham Goodfellows said they provide more than 1,700 families with food that can last them about a week and provide them with the items they need for a Christmas dinner. They also provide toys to approximately 1,100 children, including a pair of shoes and a pair of boots for each child. The Chatham Goodfellows also noted that they spend around $ 200,000 per year, donated by the community to ensure “no child goes without Christmas.”
On November 29, people are asked to leave their porch on and donate to Chatham Goodfellows. Volunteers will collect cash (or electronic transfer), toys and food donations. To donate by electronic transfer email: [email protected]
Those in need can sign up for Christmas hampers by calling the Goodfellows office at 519 354-1146, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
When CK News Today asked the Chatham-Kent Salvation Army about its position on Gift coming back for another year and if they expect it to affect their donation campaign, officials responded by saying “we can all make a difference and just hope people continue to support us as they have always done “.
Captain Stephen Holland said last year they received almost $ 600,000 in donations from the residents of Chatham-Kent.
âI know it has been a difficult year for many, but we hope to achieve this goal again,â said Holland. âBut we can only achieve this goal if people help us. One way to help is by standing in front of a Christmas kettle and / or making a financial donation. “
The Salvation Army Christmas Kettles will be released on November 19 and will remain so until Christmas Eve. This year, the kettle stands will have a TIP Tap donation option for those who have no cash on them. These machines will allow people to donate directly from their credit or bank cards in the amount of $ 5, $ 10 and $ 20.
The new toys can also be dropped off at any Salvation Army location in Wallaceburg, Chatham and Ridgetown. Holland said all financial donations, toys and food will stay in the same community where they are received.
A comparison of grocery prices by The Salvation Army showed that the cost of food has increased by almost 35% in the past two years.