Dilico Anishinabek Family Care’s 2022 Christmas Wish Campaign was successful in achieving its goal of filling 800 Christmas Wish bags for local babies, children and youth across Thunder Bay and district.
“We are truly moved by the generosity of the community,” says Darcia Borg, executive director at Dilico. “Every year we see so many individuals and families making Christmas Wish one of their holiday traditions and we’re proud to say that this year is no exception. For children who may not otherwise receive the gift they hope for at Christmas, this is an opportunity to bring them joy. Every child deserves to feel special and due to the generosity of this community, hundreds of children will now have their Christmas wishes come true.”
Vanessa McLaughlin, assistant director at Dilico, says there was a great response from the community to the Christmas Wish Campaign, which ran for about three weeks in November and early December.
“People have enjoyed shopping for the gifts,” McLaughlin says. “A lot of families are buying the bags for children who are similar ages as their own and it turns into a family affair, so it’s been really good.”
Tom Auger, assistant director at Dilico, says the Christmas Wish Campaign is very well received by the children and youth.
“They love getting these Christmas Wish bags,” Auger says. “It’s just exciting for them, our workers show up at the home and drop off the gifts so it’s an exciting time for them.”
Sherry Lessard, manager at Sovereign Dental, says it is very important to continue being involved with the Christmas Wish Campaign because the need in the community is so strong.
“With our office being a pediatric specialty office also, we are seeing a lot of these children coming into our office,” Lessard says. “Seeing the size of their hearts, we want to just increase that size of their heart and give back to them.
The feedback is awesome, and (we’re) hoping we encourage others to give and to donate. Any little bit can help make a little one’s morning just a little more special.”
The Christmas Wish bags were filled with toys and basic necessities tailored to the needs and wishes of each child, including dolls, LEGO, toothbrushes and warm mittens.
“We want to extend a giant Chi Miigwetch/thank you to Thunder Bay,” says John Dixon, director of Integrated Services at Dilico. “From individuals and families to workplaces, so many people have stepped up to provide support and donations for children in need. Many of the Christmas Wish bags were filled by people who have made Christmas Wish a tradition in their families for years, and we’re so grateful for this ongoing generosity.”
One unnamed individual shared her story of tradition with the Christmas Wish Campaign, noting that she had always wanted a jewelry box with a lid that opened to a dancing ballerina when she was a little girl.
“As a family tradition, we have participated in Dilico’s Christmas Wish Campaign for years and we always choose the profile of a little girl,” she says. “Together, we enjoy shopping for the items on her wish list and imagining her joy as she opens her gifts on Christmas morning, including her very own jewelry box with a dancing ballerina.”
The Christmas Wish Campaign was launched on Nov. 17 at Creekside Nursery and Garden Centre’s Christmas Market in Thunder Bay with an option for participants to add a copy of Dilico’s new book, How I Found My Voice, which is about a young Indigenous person searching for the courage to speak up, to a Christmas Wish bag.
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