Opinion: Getting into the Christmas spirit by volunteering

Every year I get involved in two great causes at Christmas: the Deltassist Toy Depot and Operation Red Nose. This year is no different.

Being involved with Deltassist is very rewarding, knowing that we are helping some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Although it offers support throughout the year through many programs, from helping seniors “live in place” in their homes to feeding kids on weekends through the Starfish Backpack program, Christmas is the time most people associate with Deltassist and the Toy Depot.

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The support the program receives from the community is overwhelming and greatly appreciated. I could more than fill an entire article with the people that help us deliver this program to struggling families. One that was of particular note this year was being chosen as a beneficiary of the Delta Chamber of Commerce at its Hats Off to Excellence awards dinner.

The funds raised during the silent auction were donated to Deltassist for its programs, which the agency can make go a long way. As the Deltassist board president, I had the honour of speaking on behalf of the agency, and to thank all those businesses that hold events to fundraise and collect toys for its programs.

It was an even more special night to be there when Lloyd Jones was named Citizen of the Year. His dedication to our community is also greatly appreciated. I have written about Jones in the past, when he was selling raffle tickets at Tsawwassen Town Centre on behalf of the Shriners. I didn’t win the car, but I had the opportunity to chat with him for about 10 minutes. In my books, that was a better prize anyway.

My second opportunity to give back is with Operation Red Nose. Last Saturday I had the chance to spend some time with two of our new city councillors, Alicia Guichon and Dylan Kruger, as we drove around South Delta visiting bars and restaurants and letting people know, if they had a couple of drinks, to give us a call and we’d drive them, in their own car, home. It’s always a fun time, but it’s that much more fun when you’re in the Rudy suit.

So if you found yourself dancing to Drive My Car with a giant reindeer last Saturday night, no, it wasn’t a hallucination, it was me. It’s awfully hot in that suit. And I’m a terrible dancer. But the reception we received everywhere we went was so warm and inviting it makes a late night that much better. And knowing people are getting home safe, that the streets are safer as well, make it worth a late night.

So now the lights are up on the house, the tree is out of storage and being assembled, the shopping list is staring me in the face just baiting me to wait until the last minute to buy stuff. It always seems like the best presents appear when the pressure is really on. Maybe that’s what the last minute was invented for.

As you visit with family and friends this holiday season, take a little time to reflect on how fortunate we are living where we do, and how special our community is, thanks to a lot of volunteers.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Brad Sherwin, MBA is a long-time resident of South Delta, and has almost 30 years’ experience in marketing, public relations and business strategy. He teaches marketing at Douglas College, coaches hockey goalies and is president of the board of directors at Deltassist.

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