An assurance of a fun Christmas, through 40 years of volunteer e ort
Through 40 years, the local Christmas Index Program has delivered a brighter holiday season to countless families through its volunteers.
For Mark Mason, Christmas means making sure every child in Truro has something under their tree.
That’s why the local Rotarian is part of the Christmas Index Program, collecting gifts by the boxload from various drives and community programs and helping the food bank make sure everyone can enjoy a festive dinner.
“If it was not here, I don’t think half of these families and children would have gifts under the tree, if not 80 per cent,” said Mason, past chair of the CIP committee. “When Christmas Day is done, we feel like we’ve made a di erence for the kids. at’s why I’m here.”
e CIP typically helps 1,500 to 2,000 people every year, including those who are single, childless couples and families with children. e program operates under the guidance of the Rotary Club of Truro.
e program helped 1,982 individuals in 2017 and this year is shaping up to be another successful one for the CIP.
“So far, over $12,000 has been donated, and the season is not over,” said Mason. “One example of the community’s generosity is a group of four photographers that created a calendar. ey donated the total sales of $1,600 to the Index. ere are other great expressions of generosity, such as the Paramedic Toy Drive, Kinsmen Teddy Bear Toss, Toyotaholics Toy Drive, Ugly Sweater Run and more.”
Anyone in Colchester County who needs help can ll out application forms sent out to churches, community groups or organizations, the Tatamagouche Library, Salvation Army and Macquarries Pharmasave.
All submitted applications are entered in a database and relayed to major sponsors. For example, the Salvation Army will provide help for about 100 families.
Meanwhile, individuals can also sponsor families who may not otherwise be able to a ord Christmas. Mason helped out through his workplace at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in Bible Hill.
Once families and individuals are matched with sponsors, the remaining 100 to 150 people left are referred to the CIP’S distribution centre, based at 136 Esplanade Street.
It’s there donations of toys and other festive goodies are handed out to families.
“It’s well worth all the work we put in to it as a group,” said Mason.
Not everyone helped by the pro- gram is necessarily destitute. Many families and individuals can a ord to cover rent and basic necessities, but do not have the extra funds to buy Christmas presents.
“ ere are a lot of people who come back year after year and we have 20 to 30 per cent of clients who are new each year, who don’t necessarily return,” said Mason. “ e husband or wife may get employment and they’ll be back on their feet.”
Toys and gifts can be dropped o to the CIP on 136 Esplanade Street up to Dec. 17.
Volunteers Kirk Saint, left, and Terry Pook at the Christmas Index Program in Truro inspect their donated toys at their Esplanade Street headquarters. The toys will be given to children in the week leading up to Christmas.