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Supporting families during the holidays

Wii Chiiwaakanak launches Toy Drive as part of their annual Holiday Dinner

As part of their annual Holiday Dinner, the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre has launched a Toy Drive with the goal of attaining 120 gifts for children in the community.

The Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre is asking for your help to ensure families are able to celebrate the holiday season.

We always hear from people how thankful they are and how this is maybe their only bit of extra support around the holidays.

Angeline Nelson

Their Virtual Toy Drive has launched, which is part of the annual Holiday Dinner they host. You can donate a toy by dropping it off at the toy box next to the Security Office or Student Services at The University of Winnipeg. There’s also the option to make a monetary donation online.

Angeline Nelson, Director of Community Learning and Engagement, says Urban Systems, a local interdisciplinary community consulting firm deeply passionate about building healthy, thriving communities, will be donating up to 40 gifts with a focus on pre-teens and teens.

“That tends to be the age range we don’t always have gifts for, so with the monetary donations we receive, it helps to fill those gaps. We are very thankful for their support,” Nelson said.

Every family with children 17 years old and younger will receive a gift and it’s expected that 120 gifts are needed to make the dinner a success.

This year, 200 turkey dinners will be prepared and packaged by Diversity Food Services and delivered to families by the Wii Chiiwaakanak team, members of Les Marmiton, and the folks from Urban System.

Forty extra dinners, Nelson explained, will also be served up to support those in the Spence Neighbourhood Association’s Building Belonging program during an in-person event.

“We’re really excited they’re able to get together and enjoy a nice meal,” said Allison Besel, Program Coordinator at the Spence Neighbourhood Association. “The program does an amazing job reaching kids in the community, so we’re happy to support a separate holiday event for them.”

With the rising costs of food, Nelson says Wii Chiiwaakanak has realized there are additional hardships placed on families this year.

That’s why it’s important to ease some of the pressure families are facing, especially during the holiday season.

“The Toy Drive and Holiday Dinner provides some relief (for families) and we always hear from people how thankful they are and how this is maybe their only bit of extra support around the holidays,” Nelson said. “That always reinforces how important this event is for the community and for families.”

Nelson said Wii Chiiwaakanak is grateful they’re “well supported by many partners and the UWinnipeg community,” because without their assistance, events like the Holiday Dinner wouldn’t be possible.

Toy and monetary donations will be accepted until Friday, December 10. Any last minute or extra toys will be donated to another community-focused organization.

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