Photo Credit: City of St. Catharines 

 

The City of St. Catharines is looking to the public to once again assist in its annual Tree of Little Angels campaign by donating a gift for a child.

 

Having run for 23 years, the campaign sees trees set up across the city where visitors can drop off a new, unwrapped gift in support of Community Care St. Catharines and Thorold. This year’s Tree of Little Angels campaign will run from November 12 to December 11. 

 

As you may have expected, there will be some changes this year to slow the spread of COVID-19. Specifically, trees will not be set up at Older Adult Centres, which remain closed. Also, the traditional tags that visitors could take from the tree outlining a gift idea for each child will not be offered in a physical format. Tags will still be available online should anyone need an idea. Gift card donations are preferred, though the city will be accepting gifts for children up to 16 years old.

 

“[The program] helps those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to celebrate the holidays in this way,” said Brianne Wilson, Community and Events Supervisor in St. Catharines. “[It] ensures [the holidays] are full of the surprises children across St. Catharines look forward to.”

 

Over the course of 2021, the gifts donated will be used by the organization to help children celebrate special occasions in their lives. 

 

This year for the first time, residents will have the opportunity to make cash donations via text message directly to the Community Care holiday program as well.

 

Last year, hundreds of gifts were donated through the program to nearly 13,000 individuals — 3,000 of whom were children.

 

“Every year the community steps up to help us bring holiday joy to hundreds of families, it’s a tradition we have come to cherish and, with the need greater than ever, one we are excited to continue,” said Wilson. “It’s a community effort that truly reflects the giving spirit of the season.”

 

This year, trees and toy bins will be set up at City Hall, Port Weller Community Centre, Russell Avenue Community Centre, Seymour Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre, the St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatic Centre and the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre. For facilities where appointment or registration is required to enter the building, gifts can be left with facility monitors who will be stationed at public entrances.

 

“The Tree of Little Angels program is really important to us,” said Betty-Lou Souter, Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold Chief Executive Officer. “No child should be denied the magic of [the holidays].”

 

For more information about the Tree of Little Angels visit www.stcatharines.ca/LittleAngels. For more on Community Care St. Catharines and Thorold, including other ways to donate, visit www.communitycarestca.ca. To make cash donations to the Community Care holiday program, interested individuals should text “GIVE” to 20222. They will then receive a text providing the option to donate $10 or $25 and a series of instructions.