A message from Brother Richard:
Thanks to you this holiday season was a special time
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the kindness that you have shown to the vulnerable people of Hamilton during the holiday season. I always feel greatly humbled by the generosity and acts of kindness that we see every day, but especially at Christmas.
December can be a time that is both bittersweet and heart-warming. For far too many families in our community, the holiday season is a reminder of the hard times they face on a daily basis. While children in homes around the city are excited and hopeful, thousands of parents struggle to provide their own families with a life free from poverty. You have helped them make their own Christmas memories.
I would like to share with you a few of the positive ways that you affected the lives of our neighbours this Christmas.
Christmas Wonderland: Bringing people together to share a meal, have some fun and celebrate the spirit of the season lets them know they aren’t alone. On December 17, we hosted the community at our annual Christmas Wonderland, where everybody enjoyed a free turkey dinner with all the fixings, a gift and a visit with Santa, and our magical play ear.
This year 2,000 people came through the doors of the Hamilton Convention Centre.
We prepared a feast fit for Dickens. Our dinner guests celebrated with 1,200 pounds of turkey, 625 pounds of stuffing, 700 pounds of mashed potatoes, 600 pounds of corn, 350 pounds of bread and 74 quarts of milk.
The entire celebration ran with precision thanks to the staff at Hamilton Convention Centre by Carmen’s and 850 enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers.
Christmas Marketplace: Good Shepherd’s innovative emergency food and clothing program welcomes members of our community who don’t have the financial means to provide stable nutrition and comfort for themselves and their families. This is especially important during the holidays, when the dire effects of poverty experienced by almost a quarter of our city’s population are amplified.
Thankfully, for two weeks in December our Christmas Marketplace transforms into a place where holiday shopping is dignified and hospitable. This year, almost 2,200 households representing 5,336 adults and children took home seasonal food, warm clothing and a new toy for every youngster. We distributed 223,000 pounds of food, thousands of clothing items and over 2,000 children’s gifts.
Sponsor Our Families: The holiday season was made a little more special for our clients thanks to you, our donors.With your help, the Sponsor Our Families program provided gifts to 850 people, including clothing, toys, personal care products and gift cards. These things make a world of difference to people who experience poverty, homelessness and loneliness.
As I noted in my Christmas letter to you, the holidays are special at Good Shepherd. More than any time, we are witness to the hospitality of our community—and for that, I thank you.
I wish you a healthy a blessed New Year.
Brother Richard MacPhee, OH
Chief Executive Officer