In­dex pro­gram

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.

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