With the help of our major sponsors, X-Cues Cafe and Billiards, Sorrento's restaurant on Ellice and West End BIZ, as well as dozens of donors and over 50 volunteers, the Christmas Eve Feast puts smiles on the faces of many families from the West End.
In some past years, our donors have been so generous, we have had surplus funds. As funds donated are targeted to children in the West End, surplus funds are targeted to organizations that serve these same children.
In 2016, we had no surplus funds, but in 2014 and 2015 we put the surplus donations to work in the community by donating to the Winnipeg Boys and Girls Club.
The story behind the "boxes of toys" illustrates how the community has joined together to make great things happen. In 2012, we approached Reneé Ethans, Manager, Child Life Dept. at the Children's Hospital to understand their needs and received an 8 page list of toys that the children like, that are safe and work well in the hospital environment.
Never to shy away from a challenge, we took the list to Value Lots in the West End; it's manager Jamie Bacon is a huge big supporter of the Christmas Eve Feast. By giving us at or near cost pricing, we were able to purchase toys valued well over $1,000. We filled a pickup truck with the boxes, and ho-ho-ho, we delivered the toys in time for Easter!
Reneé Ethans was speechless when she saw all the boxes, saying that "this donation will have our kids smiling for months to come." Onri, a Therapeutic Clown was all smiles -- or was that his face paint?
Gloria Cardwell-Hoeppner, Executive Director of the West End BIZ, said that it is wonderful how the community has joined with Sons of Italy to make this donation possible.
Co-chair Reno Augellone said that despite the work involved in putting on the feast, "it is all about the children." John Giavedoni added that it was wonderful to know that "the event does not end on Christmas Eve, it's impact carries on throughout the year."