By Jasmine Franklin
While the 14th annual Community Christmas was a success, the 15th is in jeopardy unless volunteers can be guaranteed and additional donations are given.
“I just can’t do all the running around anymore and to be honest, I can’t afford it,” said Sherrie Mitchell, event co-ordinator. “We have to have everyone pull together.”
This year, Mitchell couldn’t have done it without the help of all her volunteers and catering support, but there is still much to be done.
“It doesn’t stop when Christmas is over,” Mitchell said. “People still donate after Christmas and there needs to be help with deliveries.”
“Our volunteers this year did the best they could; it would be nice to know if a few volunteers could come for next year.”
Mitchell is asking that anyone who is able, to take the time and pick up Christmas sale items to donate to the Community Christmas.
“We have no cups and I just simply can’t go around and do all of that shopping anymore,” she said. “Although you may think some things don’t appeal to you, it may appeal to someone at Community Christmas. Any donations would help greatly.”
Community Christmas is a tradition in Ponoka and it began 14 years ago when Mitchell was caught working on Christmas Day. Two men walked into her store and told her it didn’t matter if they were working on Christmas or not because they had nowhere to go. And that’s when the idea for Community Christmas was born.
The event is produced from Mitchell’s hard work, the dedication of volunteers and it survives off donations. A Christmas dinner is given to those who are alone, going through troubled times, or simply cannot cook a turkey — they are all welcomed for Christmas dinner.
The event is a joint effort with local businesses making donations and the Town of Ponoka provides the Kinsmen Centre for the evening.
This year saw around 120 people sit down to dinner and Mitchell is grateful for all the volunteers, but she is still reaching out for help.
Anyone willing to make donations or volunteer for next year can reach Mitchell at (403) 843-3638.