Santa’s Helpers program raises record-setting $75,000

Submitted photo The Santa’s Helpers program, in its 51st year, raised a record setting $75,500 to help families in need at Christmas. Back, from left: Daniel Jamer, Tyler Mann, Gwen Borthwick, Natasha Reid, Stephany Corning-Welshman, Vicki Hogarth, Norman Richard, and Patrick Watt. Front, from left: Brad Henderson, Andrew Giddens, Agostino MacNeil, Maud, and Andrew Sutton. Absent from the photo because he took it is James Whitehead.

SAINT ANDREWS – It was a new record total for the Santa’s Helpers program this year. With a previous high of $62,000, the fundraising effort, which was aired on CHCO-TV Sunday, Dec. 12, raised a total which at press time, sat at $75,500.

“Although donations usually trickle in after the telethon, the total raised is a new record,” said Brad Henderson, one of the event organizers.

“The program is supporting 175 families, and 376 children this year,” says Henderson, “a slight increase versus 2020.”

The Santa’s Helpers program, in its 51st year, supports families who can’t provide a Christmas on their own, and through a partnership with the food bank, the funds raised purchase gift cards at local stores so recipients can purchase gifts and needed essentials.

This year’s event saw performances from Campobello Consolidated School, Lawrence Station Elementary School, Milltown Elementary School, St. Stephen Elementary School, and Vincent Massey Elementary School.

“With the pandemic preventing public school concerts, it gives communities and our region an opportunity to get in the holiday spirit with youth across Charlotte County,” said Henderson in an article published in the Courier prior to the event.

CHCO-TV’s Vicki Hogarth said the edited program will replay over the holiday season, so people can check their television listings. It will also be available for viewing on the CHCO-TV YouTube channel by this coming weekend.

“Santa’s Helpers provides gift cards to partner locations like Canadian Tire, Giant Tiger, and Atlantic Superstore,” says Henderson. “We are appreciative these three businesses combined donated $3500 in funds back to the telethon.”

Henderson says while the group knows how they “were fortunate” to raise a significant amount of funds through a very generous region,” people can in fact still donate if they missed the Sunday broadcast.

“The unfortunate reality is the number of families that need support is increasing,” says Henderson, “and every dollar makes a huge difference in the program sustainability.

“The easiest way is to e-transfer or email to make alternative arrangements.”