Close to 50 families will be celebrating this season thanks to the help of others.
The Odd Fellows Liberty Lodge collected items for the fifth year this year to aid families with Christmas presents and dinner.
“It fits right in with our mandate,” said Jimmie Le Fresne, chairman of the Odd Fellows. “We take almost everything. We provide all new gifts and toiletries for Christmas, plus the Christmas meal. We collect virtually everything, except furniture.”
Through the Rotary Club of Truro, the Odd Fellows assist families, and some individuals, on the Tatamagouche side of Nuttby Mountain. Items are collected under the Colchester Christmas Index Program, through the Cobequid Children First Program.
Last year, the Odd Fellows assisted 44 families, for a total of 103 people.
“Some are individuals in need that fall into the program,” Le Fresne said.
Peter Mattatall, who has looked after the grocery aspect to the program for the past two years, was in front of Scotiabank on the first night of the Festival of Trees collecting food donations.
“You don’t expect that there’s 40 families in this community that need this kind of support, but there is,” he said, adding there are other organizations, including Willow Lodge, that take on providing for Christmas for at least one family.
Each year, the community opens their doors for the program, giving what they can. There are three aspects – Christmas dinner, gifts for under the tree, and groceries for the month of January.
“Everybody wants to help,” said Le Fresne. “Some things you would probably throw out, we would probably use. We collect a lot of used stuff as well. Families are able to go through the used stuff and take what they need.”
Le Fresne said the group collects a lot of monetary donations as well, including gift cards, which is used to purchase some of the items such as food and new gifts.
He said the two schools have been big supporters of the program over the years, supplying the organization with a lot of the food given away.
“We don’t know what we’d do without the schools,” said Le Fresne. “And the community. We can’t do this without the community.”
The program is open to all families in need, however there is an application process in place. The deadline to apply was the beginning of December, to allow time to make sure the Odd Fellows had everything available. The Odd Fellows both delivers and hosts a pick-up day for successful applicants.