The spirit of Christ­mas

Hants County Christ­mas An­gels telethon ready to air Dec. 2

Valley Journal Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - BY CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UN­DER­HILL WWW.HANTSJOUR­NAL.CA

This year’s Hants County Christ­mas An­gels pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor is de­ter­mined to keep the magic of Christ­mas­time alive and well.

Melanie Skel­horn took over the role in Septem­ber and has been work­ing hard along­side vol­un­teers to get the pop­u­lar fundrais­ing telethon ready for the air.

The show, which is filmed live at the Hants County War Me­mo­rial Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Wind­sor, takes place Dec. 2 from noon un­til 8 p.m.

It’s aired on East­link’s Chan­nel 10 and broad­cast over 89.3 KRock, and new this year, it will be avail­able via NS Live.TV.

“There will be a link on our web­site — Christ­masAn­gels.ca — where you can view the show on­line, you can share it through Face­book and with your friends and your fam­ily. If they are away, they can watch the show and see the tal­ent; they can call in and pledge, if they wish to. That’s a big thing for us this year. We’re pretty ex­cited to be able to live stream,” said Skel­horn.

And hav­ing a live au­di­ence is al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated, she said.

“They can def­i­nitely come and watch live. The kids re­ally like hav­ing an au­di­ence.”

The show is jam-packed with tal­ent, with many re­turn­ing acts and a few new faces. Quick As A Wink The­atre will be among the new guests that will be per­form­ing.

Kids at the heart of the show

Skel­horn, who is a com­mu­nity home vis­i­tor with the Fam­ily Re­source Cen­tre of West Hants,

said vol­un­teer­ing to help plan the show this year meshed well with her de­sire to give back to the com­mu­nity.

“I work with youth and chil­dren and fam­i­lies, so I felt that this was a good fit for me to be able to do some­thing that di­rectly af­fected them,” said Skel­horn.

She said there is a gen­eral per­cep­tion that the Christ­mas An­gels telethon is only for low-in­come fam­i­lies. She said this isn’t the case. The face of those re­quir­ing a lit­tle ex­tra as­sis­tance is chang­ing.

“I think that some peo­ple are un­der the im­pres­sion that it’s al­ways lower in­come fam­i­lies or those who don’t have the sup­ports. But, the grow­ing need is work­ing fam­i­lies now... It’s about even,” said Skel­horn.

“You can’t re­ally judge who needs the help at Christ­mas­time, so that’s why we’re very open to ap­pli­ca­tions. Every­body’s sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent.”

And what the fam­i­lies are look­ing for aren’t ex­pen­sive presents, she said.

“They’re ask­ing for very sim­ple things — so it’s dolls, ac­ces­sories, mit­tens, hats, win­ter boots, snow­suits. They’re not look­ing for lav­ish items.”

Along with toys, cloth­ing and ne­ces­si­ties, Christ­mas An­gels also helps to pro­vide a tra­di­tional Christ­mas din­ner to the fam­i­lies.

Last year, they had a ban­ner year in terms of funds raised to help the com­mu­nity. They brought in a lit­tle more than $45,000.

“It would be amaz­ing if we could top that but our goal is to be at least $40,000,” said Skel­horn.

“We have 370 chil­dren reg­is­tered cur­rently and that num­ber is still grow­ing be­cause I’m still get­ting ap­pli­ca­tions.”

The cov­eted Garth Vaughan Me­mo­rial Sou’wester will once again be auc­tioned off, and the high­est bid­der will also re­ceive an orig­i­nal paint­ing by Liz Robin­son en­ti­tled Peggy’s Fury.

There will be a Tree of Hope set up at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions through­out Hants County, each one list­ing a child and a present they would like to re­ceive. A toy drive is also be­ing held, where peo­ple are in­vited to drop off new, un­wrapped presents at the Kent store in Wind­sor or at Hants West MLA Chuck Porter’s of­fice, un­til Dec. 4

Skel­horn said she hopes peo­ple will do­nate as much as they can this year in or­der to help spread joy and magic at Christ­mas­time.

“It’s im­por­tant to keep the spirit of Christ­mas (alive),” said Skel­horn.

“Es­sen­tially, every­body is Santa Claus when we come to­gether as a com­mu­nity. We’re pro­vid­ing that magic for chil­dren in the morn­ing. It’s just help­ing them feel like they have some­one in their cor­ner.”

CON­TRIB­UTED

Melanie Skel­horn, the pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor for the 2018 Hants County Christ­mas An­gels, shows off the sou’wester, which is auc­tioned off each year, and the paint­ing by Liz Robin­son that will be go­ing home with the win­ner.

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