Every shelter resident in Greater Victoria will be getting a present underneath their Christmas tree this year after an outpouring of support from the community.
“It makes me happy,” said Jupiter George, a woman staying at Sandy Merriman House, one of Cool Aid Society’s shelters. “I just, I can’t stop smiling.”
Just one week before Christmas, Cool Aid Society was dealing with a shortage of gifts. CHEK News ran a story about the society’s appeal to the community for more donations.
“Since this aired on CHEK last week, we have had a tremendous outpouring of our community,” said Lori Angelini, the manager of philanthropy at Cool Aid Society. “We were overwhelmed and overjoyed at the support that we got.”
The original story aired last Wednesday and the response from viewers was instant.
“Within five minutes of airing, my inbox just started dinging because every time a donation comes in, it goes off,” said Angelini.
Over Thursday and Friday, the emails kept coming in.
“I started tearing up just ’cause like having people out there, having the community come together,” said George, “I think it’s wonderful.”
It was a constant flow of people participating in the society’s new “spirit of giving” program, an online shopping cart where you can buy gift cards that will be given directly to people staying at a shelter on Christmas.
On Wednesday, Cool Aid needed 150 more gift cards. By the end of Friday, they had more than 1,000. With this many gift cards, Cool Aid is able to spread the Christmas joy past their own four shelters.
“We’ve also been able to reach out to all the other shelters in Greater Victoria because we had so many cards,” said Angelini, adding this means that no one at a shelter in the area will go without a present this holiday season.