Earlier this December, the staff and agents at Chestnut Park West saw the culmination of well over a month’s worth of hard work and planning when we hosted our fourth consecutive Winter Warmth campaign, here at Waterloo Town Square. Hundreds of our clients and friends (and their families) turned out to collect our gift of either a Christmas tree or wreath and, in turn, to make a donation of either food items or cash to support the hungry and sick in our Waterloo Region community. It was a fantastic response, and genuinely heart-warming at this time of year to see tangible evidence of our clients’ desire to support their wider community and its less-fortunate members. So, to everyone who took part this year – thank you!

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic for two years running now, Winter Warmth has only continued to grow in scale year by year. In previous years, we’ve been able to host an indoor event at our Uptown Waterloo office, where activities have included pictures with Santa for the kids, face-painting and balloon animals courtesy of Santa’s elves, plenty of food and drink, and stocking-stuffing with basic necessities for the homeless. While Covid might have forced us back outside in 2021, we still found ourselves able to provide an opportunity for the kids to meet Santa, some socializing, and a drive-through style of pickup for the trees and wreaths. It was great to see so many familiar faces, and a whole lot of first-timers, too.

It’s my pleasure to provide an update on where the proceeds of our drive will be going. In addition to the nearly $6,500 raised in cash donations, we collected bin upon bin of food items. Everything from coffee and cookies, to soups, pastas, lentils, cereals and sauces – together we can be proud of doing our part to make sure this Christmas doesn’t have to be a hungry one for many local families. Along with the food itself, we’re donating $1,500 in cash to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region – enough for 4,500 meals according to the Food Bank’s calculations. And, this year, the remaining $5,000 in cash will be going to Scotland’s Yard of the Grand River Hospital Foundation – a newly organized local movement to provide enhanced care for pediatric cancers.

So again, no matter what the amount you were able to give this year, you made a difference. Thank you for showing your support and thank you for being a loyal friend and client of Chestnut Park West in 2021. We’ll see you at next year’s event – if not before!

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