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Barrie & District Christmas Cheer tees off holiday campaign with annual golf tournament

While Thanksgiving is still more than a week away, the Barrie & District Christmas Cheer held their annual golf tournament to begin building the foundation for their holiday campaign.

"This is where we really create awareness. Our sponsors and promoters come out. We're so grateful for every one. Our community just starts to rally around our charity this year," said Christmas Cheer Vice President Sandra Yaquo.

The organization says community support is needed more than ever in our current economic climate.

"Unfortunately, when it comes between paying your rent and feeding your kids and buying gifts, gifts are going to be the last one on the list, right?" explained Christmas Cheer Application Coordinator Nicole Gibson.

Many in attendance at Bear Creek Golf Club for the event know firsthand the value of a program that provides food and gifts for nearly 1,700 families in the Barrie area at Christmas time, including Barrie's mayor, who was a recipient of Christmas Cheer as a child.

"Really just making sure that we didn't go without the beauty of waking up and opening a present and being a part of what other kids were experiencing and being able to play with those toys and just be kids," said Alex Nuttall.

"As a child, my family, through no fault of their own, had some hardships. My mom got sick, and we ended up needing support from our community, and I just feel like Christmas Cheer isn't just for people who are on assistance," recalled Gibson.

Due to the cost of living and rising demand for their service, Christmas Cheer has upped its fundraising goal from $280,000 last year to $400,000 this season.

"We want to take care of our community and take care of our families, and we knew the need would go up this year due to interest rates, inflation and cost of living. Groceries and toys are a lot more than they were last year," said Yaquo.

"I truly believe that there are people in this world that things have just happened and life hasn't gone the way that they wanted it to, and they end up in hardships. So that's what we're here for to help them pick up the pieces and make sure that their family still has a really good holiday," said Gibson.

Organizers say last year's campaign saw many people who usually could make ends meet, including some of their own long-time volunteers, needing help, which has only emphasized the importance of their operation. Top Stories


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