A family’s Christmas card campaign went from a handful of handmade cards to hundreds over the holidays, with the help of local schools, teachers and students.
Starting as a family holiday tradition, hundreds of handmade cards were produced and sent to community groups and seniors’ homes.
The Parker family, the creators of the project, moved from Alberta to Denare Beach last year - the community where they’ve spent their summers became their new year-round home. Each year, the family and their two kids, Axton and Ember, try to do something special for the holiday season for advent. This year, the kids decided they wanted to make a handful of cards for community groups and causes.
“We took that as an opportunity this year to get to know the different events going on in our new community. We watched the tree lighting and we did the parade and different things, just to learn more about the community. We wanted to give back,” said Delaina Parker, the kids’ mother.
“I had created cards for community, just for my kids to make a couple of cards and we’d just give them out to an organization. We were going to make six, eight, 10 cards to give and it just snowballed.”
Snowball it did - the kids suggested getting their friends and classmates involved to make more cards and donate them to even more groups. That led to Parker talking to local schools and staff, who then got their own classrooms involved in the effort.
“As we were creating, they thought, ‘oh, we should get our friends to help us.’ I had some connections with principals in the community and I contacted them and asked them if their elementary classes would be interested in helping us and it really got so much bigger than we could have ever imagined.” she said.
Cards came in from Creighton Community School, Ruth Betts Community School and Ecole McIsaac School - dozens of them. In the end, more than 300 cards were made through the project and dispersed to community groups and causes. Local care homes and seniors’ residences received cards - so did Norman Community Services, the Vocational Training Centre and others. Once they were completed, Parker gathered them up and distributed them throughout the city.
“The cards were incredibly made and there was so much care and love put into them - it was just our honour to be able to deliver them,” Parker said.
Feedback from card recipients and those around them has been overwhelmingly positive, Parker said.
“I talked to ladies in the recreation department at the care home - we couldn't deliver them personally because of restrictions and stuff - but they were very, very grateful and so pleased that the residents were going to have some happiness and joy in the season when it might be a bit gloomy there,” she said.
“We were just really delighted with the feedback from the community and the support for this. It felt like a little nugget that just got a life of its own and we were so happy to be able to share that with the community and let other kids help us spread some joy.”
In her kids’ first school year in the area, Parker said she and her kids were thankful for the community effort in expanding the project, adding she would hope to do it again in the future and that doing the work allowed the family to feel closer and more involved with their new hometown.
“I think everybody wants to help, no matter where you are - you just have to plant the seed. The feedback we got and the support, it just reminded us that community is where you make it,” said Parker.
“It made their hearts happy to be able to do that.”