Dawn Hamilton and her army of volunteers open the Angel Tree initiative this Friday at 4 p.m. at the Discovery Inn. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

A community of angels helping the kids at Christmas

Campbell River’s Angel Tree initiative begins this Friday, so go grab a tag

It’s become one of Campbell River’s most anticipated events every year, and it’s happening on Friday.

No, it’s not Starlight Shopping downtown and the Big Truck Parade – although those are certainly also great community events that people look forward to each year. It’s the tags going up on the Angel Tree in the lobby of the Discovery Inn.

Dawn Hamilton, going into her 10th year as Angel Tree’s coordinator, says it still amazes her every year just how enthusiastic the people of Campbell River are to help each other. The initiative has been going strong for over 30 years, and Hamilton has been a part of it for more than a dozen in one form or another.

“It’s grown so much over the years,” she says. “We’ve got people who come back year after year, and a huge number of organizations have hopped on board to help, but there’s also always some new faces. It’s heartwarming to see so many people making Angel Tree part of their family holiday traditions. This community is so amazing. Everyone is so generous.”

For those who aren’t familiar with the Angel Tree, it’s basically a way for Hamilton and her team of volunteers to make sure that every child in the community gets gifts at Christmas. Hamilton coordinates the effort with various local social service organizations to gather the names and ages of children who may not otherwise have any gifts to open Dec. 25 and puts their needs and wants on a tag hanging from a tree in the lobby of the Discovery Inn.

The public can then go pick a tag and purchase some things on the tag – or anything else they feel would suit the child based on the short profile information provided – and drop the items back off with the volunteers to be wrapped and delivered.

RELATED: Be an angel this Christmas for a child in need

So the tag will say things like, “girl, age six, favourite colour is blue, likes Paw Patrol, drawing and playing soccer, needs socks, gloves and a scarf,” and whoever takes that tag can go shopping. They can get what’s on the tag, but there’s no requirement to get all – or any – of what’s listed.

Hamilton and the crew will then use funds raised from the community to “top-up” everyone’s gift bags and go into wrapping mode for about a week before the packages are delivered.

The initiative isn’t just good news for children on Christmas, it’s also good news for local retailers, a most of the money spent on gifts through the Angel Tree is spent locally, Hamilton says.

“We try to get all our top-up gifts locally – I think I spent about $4,000 last year – and I think that because there’s not that much time from when people take a tag until they need to get the gifts back here, most people are getting their gifts from local stores, too,” Hamilton says. “They certainly don’t have time to be ordering them online.”

The tags will be on the tree ready for people to come take as of 4 p.m. on Friday (Nov. 29), and volunteers will on hand that night until 9 p.m., then be manning the tables from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day after that through to Sunday, Dec. 8.

Quality Foods is also hosting a “Photos with Santa” event at their Merecroft Village location on Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Photos are by donation and will be emailed to the recipient, will all donations going to the Angel Tree.

For more on the initiative, visit them on Facebook @downtownangeltree or stop in at the Discovery Inn anytime the volunteers are on hand and have a chat.



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map shows new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 11-17. (BCCDC image)
BCCDC says fresh COVID-19 cases down in most Island Health areas

Nanaimo sees its fewest new COVID-19 cases since mid January

The Sybil Andrews Cottage property in Willow Point, along with the Haig-Brown House property, have both been assigned Community Heritage Designation. Mirror File Photo
Sybil Andrews cottage and Haig-Brown House get full heritage status

Designation offers both protection as well as opening up future funding opportunities

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
John Dillon Brown set off to conclude an out-of-court settlement the day he disappeared

Trial of Richard Alexander continues in B.C. Supreme Court in Victoria

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
AstraZeneca vaccine appointments fill up fast on Vancouver Island

More pharmacies expected to be added as supply increases

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Woman hopes cat-stalking Fanny Bay cougar can avoid euthanization

Conservation officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read