Ready for Christmas – Exchange helps 446 people

Morrisburg Legion gives big to Christmas Exchange – Morrisburg Branch 48 Legion president Graham Houze presents cheque for $2,000 to Exchange Volunteer Janice Pilon. “We are very grateful to the Legion. This is a huge donation and will certainly help us pay for the food the Exchange purchases for the Christmas Food Boxes,” said Exchange co-chair Bonnie McNairn who was not available for the photo. In addition to the donation, the Legion has provided the use of the hall every year since the Exchange began over 30 years ago. (South Dundas Christmas Exchange/Contributed)
Bonnie McNairn with the bags of toys ready for distribution.

MORRISBURG – Last Wednesday a small group of volunteers descended on the Morrisburg Legion hall to spread a little Christmas cheer to families across South Dundas.

That was the day boxes were packed and gifts were prepared for those receiving holiday season help from the South Dundas Christmas Exchange.

“South Dundas Christmas Exchange food baskets this year will feed 446 people living in South Dundas,” said co-chair Bonnie McNairn.

“The majority of the food, including turkey/ham is purchased by the Exchange which is made possible by the very generous financial donations from the community.”

McNairn said that they realized going into this year’s campaign that 2020 would be a difficult year. They expected to see an increase in those needing help while at the same time expected that the economic challenges would affect donations to the charity.

“While our donations are down, it isn’t near what we anticipated,” said McNairn. “It is amazing how our South Dundas Community pulled together once again.”

South Dundas Christmas Exchange volunteers Greta Roberts, Rev. Janet Evans and Carol Dawley ready to fill the food boxes. (The Leader/Comfort photo)
Allan Black and Doug Baker unloading food for the Exchange.

The 446 people supported through this year’s Exchange includes 143 children, all of whom received Angel Tree gifts.

Angel Trees are organized by the Morrisburg and District Lions Club and Sandra Lee Johnston.

When all of the Angels were gone from the Angel Trees several people took it upon themselves to purchase and donate a gift anyway, which were added to the Angel Tree gifts.

Fifty people living alone also received food boxes for Christmas this year, also made possible through purchases by the South Dundas Christmas Exchange.

McNairn reported that support for the pyjama drive was also phenomenal, so all 143 children will be receiving a new pair of pyjamas this Christmas. Books, socks, toques and mittens that were donated were also distributed.

This annual campaign is truly a wonderful example of community.

All of the food is purchased at local stores including Laura’s Valumart, Giant Tiger and Iroquois Foodland. Fresh apples are purchased from Smyth’s Orchard and the turkey and ham from Williamsburg Meats.

The Morrisburg Legion donates the use of the hall for packing and distribution and the boxes are donated annually by Craig Packaging.

“We can’t thank everyone enough,” said McNairn.

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