May 25th, 2024

Christmas card campaign sharing the joy of the season

By Lethbridge Herald on December 13, 2021.

Submitted photo. - Damien Demers helps his mom Nikki sort Christmas cards to be distributed to seniors across Alberta, as part of the Christmas Card Drive 2021.

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – Lethbridge Herald

A Christmas Card Drive has expanded across the province bringing joy to seniors in care facilities during the second Christmas of the pandemic. 

It all started with Nikki Demers in Grande Prairie, who has been doing the card drive since 2020 with her family both there and in Lethbridge. It was brought on by Christmas last year, thinking about the many seniors that would be missing their family dinners and the opportunity to leave their care facilities to go out and really experience life. 

They initially focused on both cities and now expanded across the province. 

“It wasn’t the intention to go across the province and to make it so big, but when people say they want to help out in Calgary, Peace River, Edmonton we definitely don’t say no,” said Demers, founder of Christmas Card Drive 2021.

She said she was basically helping to spread the word and finding people in different communities, helping them organize things in their areas like finding seniors care homes. 

“They are doing mini initiatives there that are all working into the same Christmas Card Drive,” said Demers. 

Here in Lethbridge one of those initiatives is being organized by Daicya Munton, who unknowingly had been doing something similar at a much smaller scale since 2019. 

She had been picking up Christmas cards from the Dollar Store and taking them to the daycare her son and daughter attend a couple of days a week, and having them decorate the cards for her to take them to the seniors facility where their grandmother was. 

 “My mom and I were the only ones that could be there to see her at Christmas time and it was just really heart breaking to see all these seniors being alone,” said Munton. 

She said it was this that prompted her to do something nice for them to cheer them up. 

“My grandma did a ton of volunteering with community support, so I grew up always doing a lot of that. So then, she passed away this summer and September rolled around and I got thinking about things for the upcoming Christmas season,” said Munton. 

That is when she decided that instead of doing just a 100 cards this year, she wanted to see if she could do a few extra and drop them off at a few more homes.

“So we went from doing a 100 in the last two years to just over 3000 in the southern Alberta area this year,” said Munton. 

Munton and Demers have known each other for many years, as Munton worked with Demers’ mother in the past. This is how she knew Demers was doing the card drive in Grande Prairie, so when Munton decided to grow her card delivery, she connected with Demers and bounced ideas off each other to accomplish the task. 

“This was the first year we really reached out to the community down here,” said Munton. 

Demers had set a collection date of November 30, and hoped to distribute cards during the first couple of weeks of December, but she was also open to more cards coming in. 

But unlike Demers, Munton said she does not have a deadline for card drop off. She is more than happy to continue to collect and distribute cards for as long as they continue to arrive. 

“People are still dropping off cards, and basically what we are doing is every time we get enough cards to kind of get to the next facility then we drop them off,” said Munton. 

The original idea was to deliver Christmas cards for Lethbridge seniors, but as of Monday, they had delivered cards to all the senior facilities in Fort Macleod, Lethbridge, Taber, Claresholm, Coaldale, Milk River, Picture Butte, Magrath, Warner and Raymond. 

“Now that we have done all the seniors homes and we also have 160 that we’ll be dropping off with the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen for their guests, the next ones that we collect, we are going to box them up and drop them off at senior apartment buildings in town, in the front entry ways,” said Munton. 

Demers said the campaign has collected 8,357 cards province-wide during 2021, with more pick-ups still happening throughout the week.

Munton said they have only a couple of collection sites this year as she did not anticipate how big the turnout was going to be, but she hopes to have a few extra locations added to the list. 

Those interested in contributing to the campaign can drop Christmas cards off at Munton & Michaelis Chartered Professional Accountants at #1 320 W.T. Hill Blvd. S. or the Evangelical Free Church of Lethbridge at 4717 24 Ave South. 

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