That’s a wrap for an­other year

Winnipeg Sun - - NEWS - JIM BEN­DER

For Kai Mad­sen, it was like get­ting an ex­tra-special gift af­ter Christ­mas.

While the Christ­mas Cheer Board ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor was ex­pect­ing the an­nual do­na­tion from the Santa Bus this month, the to­tal was al­most $3,000 more than last yule­tide.

And it helped our Empty Stock­ing Fund cam­paign reach a record to­tal!

Win­nipeg Tran­sit’s Santa Bus raised a grand to­tal of $12,360.24, thanks to its most gen­er­ous rid­ers through­out the month of De­cem­ber. All cash fares and do­na­tions col­lected dur­ing that fun sleigh-type ride through city streets go di­rectly to the Cheer Board.

“We hope that helps with all the great work you and your group does,” Mor­ley Cal­la­han, tran­sit’s pro­mo­tions su­per­vi­sor, wrote in an email to Mad­sen.

“Fan­tas­tic,” Mad­sen replied.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate ev­ery­thing tran­sit does for us and, in par­tic­u­lar, your help with the city fund­ing re­quest.”

The Santa Bus has been rais­ing money for the Cheer Board since 1985.

That $12,000-plus upped our fundrais­ing ef­forts to a mind-blow­ing $111,631.54 — by far the most money this cam­paign has ever re­al­ized! In fact, we have never broke the $100,000 mile­stone be­fore.

So, thank you to Win­nipeg Tran­sit, all of those Santa Bus rid­ers who went jin­gling through the snow and all of you who both do­nated and hosted fundrais­ing events for our fund.

PICKEN’S GEN­EROS­ITY

Re­cently, my wife and I were vis­it­ing Bob Picken, the me­dia leg­end who is dy­ing of can­cer, when Bob sud­denly in­ter­rupted his own con­ver­sa­tion and beck­oned his wife.

“Bar­bara,” he said ur­gently. “Bar­bara, can you write Jimmy a $100 cheque for his Empty Stock­ing Fund?”

Wow! You would think Bob would have more im­por­tant things on his mind. But it was yet an­other ex­am­ple of what a truly nice man he re­ally is. Both my wife and I were truly touched.

CAM­PAIGN ENDS

This marks the end of our cam­paign for this yule­tide. Kai Mad­sen was es­ti­mat­ing a loss of about $18,000 but will still col­lect con­tri­bu­tions to the end of Fe­bru­ary. So, please send do­na­tions

di­rectly to the Cheer Board at Box 51089 RPO Tyn­dall Park, Win­nipeg, MB R2X 3C6; or by e-trans­fer at [email protected]; or on­line through Canada Helps. Re­ceipts will still be is­sued for do­na­tions of $10 or more.

FI­NAL THOUGHTS

I have no idea whether or not I will be re­turn­ing to guest-write this col­umn again next year, but the Cheer Board will cel­e­brate its 100th an­niver­sary this De­cem­ber. Please start mak­ing some grandiose plans to help raise even more moolah for our needy fam­i­lies. You’ve got 10 months.

Mean­while, thank you all for your do­na­tions — even the small­est ones count — and some of the great ways to raise funds for the Cheer Board like pan­cake break­fasts (Maxim), bas­kets full of prizes (Bug Build­ing), year-long global fundrais­ers (Ny­gard), bev­er­age room par­ties (Kirk­field, The Nob), Christ­mas skates (Krawat), curlers (Assini­boine Memo­rial, St. Vi­tal) and just pass­ing the hats (unions) or hel­mets (Cottick) around.

And once again, a special thanks to my wife Karen, who helps be­hind the scenes and al­lows me the time to sup­port these fundrais­ers when there is so much else go­ing on over Christ­mas.

The Win­nipeg Tran­sit Santa Bus is done for an­other year of fundrais­ing. WIN­NIPEG SUN FILES

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