Dilico Anishinabek Family Care’s 2016 Christmas Wish Campaign was a success with more than 700 Christmas Wish bags filled for children and youth in need throughout the region.
“We exceeded our goal,” says Carmela Hardy, Dilico’s director of child welfare. “We had a goal of 700 and we actually exceeded it.”
The Christmas Wish bags were filled with essential items, toys, books, clothing and learning tools for children up to 17 years old thanks to the generosity and contributions of community members, businesses and organizations from across Thunder Bay and district.
“Christmas truly starts with me and you,” Hardy says. “Miigwetch to all of the wonderful families and individuals who participated in this year’s Dilico Christmas Wish Bag Campaign. This is the best gift you can give.”
Each Christmas Wish bag had a special child profile that provided details about the boy or girl who would receive it, including their age and what they were interested in.
“The (Dilico) workers collected profiles of the children they are working with or the children that they know,” Hardy says. “There’s everything from essentials like mitts, there’s toys, there’s candy. I see there’s some sleds. Somebody actually donated a bike, so there’s all kinds of stuff in there.”
Hardy says the community was “very generous” with their donations for the Christmas Wish bags.
“This is our eighth year and every single year we seem to fill more and more bags,” Hardy says. “When I came into the room I was amazed at the sea of red (Christmas Wish bags).”
The Christmas Wish bags were organized and delivered to the children and youth during the week before Christmas.
“We like to see that children have a gift to open up on Christmas,” Hardy says. “We know the city of Thunder Bay is very generous and they want to give back to children. We know that happy children create better communities, so we want to contribute to that as best as we can.”
Hardy says Dilico is “overjoyed with the continued support from our communities.”
“We all remember waking up on Christmas morning as children and experiencing that special joy,” Hardy says. “Together we are creating happy holidays for children that need it the most.” Hardy says the St. Patrick High School Grade 12 drama students also partnered with the Christmas Wish Campaign this year by filling a bag individually and collecting toys from the audience of their latest production: A Seussified Christmas.
“The Dilico Anishinabek Family Care Christmas Wish Bag campaign really brings the community together for a common cause of investing in our children and youth,” Hardy says. “It’s also pretty inspiring to see youth helping other youth and children in need.”
Dilico provides services for Aboriginal children and families in communities in the Thunder Bay area, ranging from Whitesand and Long Lake #58 in the north to Michipicoten in the east.