Plenty of Christmas cheer to be spread around thanks to caring community

Last Friday morning, your humble scribe encountered one of those magical community moments that inspire the soul and fulfill the heart.

Just before 9:30 a.m., reporters attended PECI where packages of gifts for 56 children that will be distributed through the local Angel Tree Program were being amassed before being transported to the Christmas charity’s office at Benson Hall.

The Christmas spirit was alive and well as PECI students once again have come through and donated and fundraised to make the season brighter for over 50 children in our community.

At the next assignment, just after 9:30 a.m., organizers of the Community Christmas Carol concert hosted annually at Picton United were presenting cheques to the Picton United Church Food Bank, the aforementioned Angel Tree Program and the Salvation Army. Although an early December snow storm cut the audience to about a third of what was expected, those who attended gave generously and over $1,000 was divided up amongst the three groups.

Outside the United Church afterwards, two County of Prince Edward half ton trucks were backed up to the Food Bank doors as the proceeds of an inter-departmental food donation challenge was being delivered to restock bare shelves.

All told, County employees gathered and gave over 2,200 pounds of food.

Let be said now and always Prince Edward County is a caring community and, by and large, those residing here live, breathe and exhibit that spirit. To the young students at our schools, the working age folks who chip in what they can when they can, all the way to the Church and Food Bank volunteers who, while retired from the work-a-day world, still summon the time and energy to make a positive impact.

With the Christmas season upon and spirit of giving in the air, allow this corner to offer our best Christmas wishes to the community of Prince Edward County:

To Mayor Steve Ferguson and County Council: Opportunity under a new CAO to realize the true potential of the voices and skills sitting around the horseshoe. This term has been a series of fits and starts and the senior staff movement hasn’t helped this municipal government reach its peak ability to serve citizens. We hope this gift translates into -among other things- shovels in the ground affordable housing strategies, a solution to high water rates and a new era of prosperity for all residents and businesses in PEC.

To the Storehouse Food Bank, the Picton United Church Food Bank and the Salvation Army and their volunteers: A period of rest. The hard work and long hours in the lead up the holiday season and making sure those families living the margins in our beautiful community are winding down. Thank you for your efforts and understanding that, while your work goes unnoticed by many in Prince Edward County, it’s often the difference maker this time of year.

To those that might not regularly support these vital and increasingly necessary institutions in Prince Edward County: Awareness that ours is a community where many families live paycheque to paycheque and the struggle to avoid pitfalls of poverty is real. When you have a chance to donate canned goods or funds this January as the aforementioned institutions attempt to refill their stores, please give generously.

To Children’s Foundation Angel Tree Coordinator Sue Rose and her merry band of elves: The same period of rest and relaxation as the aforementioned food banks. Over 300 children in Prince Edward County are going to wake up Christmas morning to gifts under the tree and it’s all thanks to Rose and her team and those who donate.

And finally, to every Prince Edward County resident and those County natives that are dreaming of a ‘County Christmas’ in their minds and long to be back home on the island come December 25- a very merry Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.

-Jason Parks