The Christmas Sharing Program is a Canadian registered charity governed by a volunteer Board of Directors consisting of a cross-section of community-minded individuals. We rely on the generosity of the local community and do not receive any government funding. Donations of $20 or more are tax-deductible. Funds have also traditionally been generated by a sponsored walk along the Belleville waterfront in September, a turkey bingo in December, various choral concerts and many speaking engagements and interviews throughout the season.
The area covered by the Program are within the following boundaries: the City of Belleville, including Thurlow Township as far east as Shannonville and not including the Tyendinaga Territory; as far west as White’s Road and south to Ameliasburg Township. All low-income individuals and families residing within these boundaries are encouraged to apply for assistance. Anyone wishing to apply from outside these boundaries is referred to the appropriate program in their home community.
Early in September we launch the annual fund-raising campaign. Letters of appeal are mailed to community groups, schools, churches and individuals who have supported the Christmas Sharing Program in the past. Meetings are held with other agencies and programs so that supports can be coordinated throughout the community.
In October our volunteers traditionally visit some local social housing complexes and Gleaners food bank in Belleville to begin the registration process. Individuals who meet the residency and financial criteria may qualify not only for a grocery gift card but also the Community Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day. Families with children 10 and under are automatically eligible and registered for the Belleville Fire-Fighters Toy Drive. All registrations for these events are funneled through the Christmas Sharing Program in order to limit potential duplications
The registration process continues throughout November when the Christmas Sharing Program office in Century Village welcomes all those who wish to apply through its doors. Volunteers strive to protect the privacy and confidentiality of applicants’ information with sensitivity and respect for the individuals and families while fulfilling the mandate of the Program.
Registration ends on the last business day of November and the task of matching families with our many community sponsors begins. Lists of those eligible for the toy drive and Christmas dinner are provided to the relevant contacts and volunteers are recruited to assist with the meal on Christmas day. Usually there are more volunteers than positions to fill – another indication of the generosity of the local community. The delivery of food boxes and pick-up of grocery gift cards and toys occurs a few days before the big day, wrapping up another busy season for the Program.
Our volunteers are endlessly compassionate and generous. They come from a variety of backgrounds with the common goal of helping their community. The Christmas Sharing Program would be unable to function without their loyal support. Please check out the rest of our website to find out how you can help.
The Christmas Sharing Program depends entirely on Donations from the community. We do not get any funding from any other source. To find out how you can support the program click the link below to be directed to our donation page.