Merry Christmas and a heart felt thank you to all our community partners and supporters who have helped us make it through another difficult year. It is a struggle this December to fully embrace the spirit of Christmas. I see the frustration and worry on the faces of the people I meet as I go about my day. We all thought that we would be out of this pandemic nightmare by now. It is discouraging to find ourselves back at this juncture, wondering if this Christmas we will be able to embrace the ones we love and miss so very much.
I think that this year more than ever, it is important to focus on the positive things that are happening in our community. I can offer this; we live in a city where neighbors are doing what they can to take care of the less fortunate. At the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Kingston, we have witnessed this generosity and kindness through both our regular fundraising and through our capital campaign fundraising efforts. People have demonstrated that they care by supporting the work we do. We have had donations that range from $5.00 to $200,000.00. Both represent the same sentiment – a willingness to sacrifice for the well being of someone else, someone they do not know. This is the spirit of Christmas.
When I steer my thoughts toward that reality, I feel the warmth and the promise this Christmas season holds. When I wander through our Wearhouse and I see the racks full of clothing freely given, I am reminded of the care and effort so many have put forth to ensure that their neighbors have adequate clothing this winter. I can hear the Christmas carols playing as David and Anne, two of our dedicated volunteers, prepare the Christmas stocking that will be handed out at our Christmas dinner. It will be a takeout turkey dinner again this year, but as always – there will be love in the food prepared.
As this December winds down and we prepare to close for our Christmas break, a quick tally of the meals provided this year tells us that we have served a record number. In fact, we have served close to 34,000 meals in 2021. This is up from 27,000 last year and 18,000 pre-pandemic. Those of you who have been in our humble kitchen on Stephen Street know the miracle that our staff and volunteers have performed to make this happen. I am so grateful to be working alongside such talented and passionate people. It is uplifting.
I pray that this Christmas, all Kingstonians find a reason to feel joyful in the midst of our COVID-19 crisis. I also pray that in the business of the holidays, we take time to remember those who may be struggling and share that joy.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Kingston!!