EMPTY STOCKING FUND: That’s a wrap for another year

EMPTY STOCKING FUND: That’s a wrap for another year

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 various city streets go directly to the Cheer Board.

Winnipeg Transit Santa Bus raised a grand total of $12,360,24 for the Christmas 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 ccb@mymts.net; 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. So, please start making some grandiose plans to help raise even more moola 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), basketsful 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) and/or helmets (Cottick) around.

Heather Durward, Nygard’s lead PR and special events co-ordinator, presents a cheque for $6,477 to Kai Madsen of the Christmas Cheer Board. The money was raised at the Nygard Holiday Season Party Silent Auction and its annual Global Raffle.

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.

TODAY’S GENEROUS PEOPLE

Santa Bus $12,360.24

Bob and Barbara Picken $100

R.A. McNeill $150

Today’s Total $12,610.24

Final Total (cash and kind) $111,631.54(!)

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