Holiday giving and gifts in kind are always appreciated at this time of year and United Way is always happy to help you connect with those in need. To learn more about ways to give in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington community this season visit https://www.unitedwaykfla.ca/ways-to-give/holiday-giving/
Celebrating the season and giving back go hand in hand for friends
The holiday season is always a busy time and it can be difficult to get together with friends to celebrate. Long time United Way volunteer, Miranda Clark, and her friend, Jill Courneya, struggled with this dilemma each December and in 2014 they looked for a solution.
“Jill and I both found that the holiday season would just fly by and we didn’t get a chance to visit with the people we wanted to,” explained Clark, a Product Administration Consultant at Empire Life in Kingston. “We decided to host a joint holiday get together, but with a twist.”
To make their celebration unique, the friends decided to ask those in attendance to bring items for local community organizations in need. They also had a bit of fun with their titles and themes.
“It started with Socks and Cocktails, that was our first theme, and we collected over 300 pairs of socks,” said Clark.
Next up was Undies the Mistletoe in 2015 and the duo collected 260 pieces of underwear and over 50 sets of pyjamas. In 2016 they chose O’Toilet Trees, O’Toilet Trees – collecting over 500 toiletries and then last year they chose Baby It’s Cold Outside collecting hundreds of baby related items.
“Now people ask for the theme in the summer!” said Clark. “It gets harder and harder to think of a clever title. We try to focus on the needs we see in the community each year and then go from there.”
This year’s theme was Holy Buche de Noel! (or Yule Log in English) and it was meant to be an exclamation about how Christmas is suddenly here. The hosts asked friends and family to bring items geared towards Kingston Interval House and their list of needs, including feminine hygiene products, household items, baby items and much more.
Once again, Clark was overwhelmed with the response
“It was a smaller gathering this year as some people were sick or had other commitments, but many of those people still donated,” she said. “They wanted to give and they just dropped off bags of stuff.”
The party has also inspired attendees to hold similar events.
“I always tell friends and family to please steal the idea. I’m so happy people want to do it themselves too.”
Clark isn’t sure how many items were collected this year, but she did point out that her living room has been filled with bags once again. She plans to keep the tradition going for years to come, but admits she hasn’t thought much about next year’s theme.
“Not yet, we’ll see how the year goes,” she said. “No matter what it is we are just happy to make a difference. The generosity we’ve seen just makes it a bit better and we are happy to do what we can.”