Dilico Anishinabek Family Care launched its 9th annual Christmas Wish Campaign on Nov. 15 with a performance of Do You Want to Build a Snowman by St. Patrick High School drama students.
“We have a fantastic relationship with St. Patrick High School, in particular the Grade 12 drama class - this is the third year that we've been in partnership with them,” says Carmela Hardy, director of child welfare for Dilico Anishinabek Family Care. “Each year they have a different musical theme they are hosting, so here they will be advertising the Dilico Christmas Wish bag. We will actually have an evening where they will be distributing (Christmas) Wish bags to individuals that will be attending the event.”
Dilico Anishinabek Family Care is looking for 750 Christmas wish bags to be filled for children and youth in need across Thunder Bay and district this year.
“Last year we filled over 700 bags,” Hardy says. “So we can see the generosity that each individual in the city and district of Thunder Bay had to give to children and youth that are in need.”
People who are interested in participating in the Christmas Wish Campaign are provided with a Christmas Wish bag that has a child profile attached identifying details about the recipient, such as their age and what they are interested in.
“What we want is that for each child, youth, teenager is to not go without during the Christmas season,” Hardy says. “And on Christmas Day that they at least have a bag filled with whatever their interests are and whatever their wants are. We do request necessities like hats, mitts, toothbrushes, toothpaste, crafts that would be helpful for children and youth.”
Darcia Borg, executive director of Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, also encouraged people to help make a child's wish come true on Christmas Day.
“A warm sweater, a new book, a special toy, a winter hat and mitts, help Dilico Anishinabek Family Care fill these bags for deserving boys and girls throughout the region,” Borg says. “The Dilico Christmas Wish Campaign helps make the holidays so much brighter for children and families who sometimes find the season to be a difficult time. As a community we can come together to make this campaign a success. Over the years 3,200 Christmas Wish bags have been provided to children in need.”
The Grade 12 drama students are committed to filling a Christmas Wish bag and to encouraging audience members at their Dec. 7 and 8 performances of The Snow Queen at St. Patrick High School's Selkirk Auditorium to donate and fill a Christmas Wish bag. Tickets for the 7 p.m. performances are available at St. Patrick High School's main office.
“These are a couple of little excerpts from our show,” says Julia Lento, a Grade 12 drama student and one of three directors of the drama class's Snow Queen production, about the Christmas Wish Campaign performance. “I feel like in a month when our show starts we will be pretty ready for it.”
Lento says it is important for students to support other children and youth who might not be as fortunate as them during the Christmas season.
“The Dilico Christmas Wish Campaign is a fun way to give back and also really highlights the true meaning of Christmas,” Lento says. “My Christmas wish is that every child can experience the joys of being a child and not have to grow up too soon.”
Sponsors for the Christmas Wish Campaign included GRIDLINK, who provided funding to purchase the Christmas Wish bags, and Ontario Power Generation, who provided a monetary donation.
“OPG has seven or eight communities within the Robinson Superior district that are benefitting from this program,” says Denise Hardy, Indigenous relations advisor with OPG Northwest. “We want to make sure that we give back to the communities. This year's (campaign) is targeting 750 kids and we are really proud to be a part of this.”