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New Campaign Inspires Edmonton to Pass the Plate

November 1st, 2016

By Corinne Mercier

You’re staring at all the toys in the house thinking, “there’s a birthday party right around the corner—where on earth am I going to put even more toys?”

It’s a scene many parents can identify with.

That’s why Kelsi and Myke Badry decided to do things a little differently this year for their son’s birthday party.

“I was looking for ways the family could help our community. When I saw the Christmas Bureau’s image of a child with an empty plate in front of them it really hit home. I couldn't imagine my son not having any food to eat, especially during the holidays. This led us to decide that, rather than accepting birthday gifts, which would likely meet the same fate as last year’s gifts (forgotten in the toy box), we would ask for donations on behalf of the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton,” shared Kelsi.

It was win-win-win; Kelsi and Myke could avoid the unnecessary clutter that comes with more toys, they’re teaching their son about giving back to his community, and they’re making an impact on families in need at Christmas.

The plan was simple. First, they would include a note in the digital invitation that, instead of toys, donations would be accepted on behalf of the Christmas Bureau. She also included a link to the charity’s website should any invitees not be familiar with the organization.

On the day of the party, they prepared a table which included a donation box as well as printouts explaining more about the charity. The reception to the fundraiser was even better than Kelsi and Myke could have hoped, with a total of $300 being raised—enough to help three families.

Lastly, they got the kids involved! Kids in attendance got to decorate their own plates—instead of a traditional goodie bag, the kids got to take the reusable plate home with them. Each plate was full of goodies and included a message thanking them for “filling someone else’s plate.” And, of course, the birthday boy got a framed picture from his party of him making memories with his friends.

“The parents were actually a little relieved. Some families are really organized and have a gift ready to go the week before the party. But, if you’re anything like me, your schedule can easily get away from you and you find yourself shopping late the night before or the day of the party. This was so much easier for them because it took away the stress of having to find that perfect gift. Toys can also be expensive. This allowed people to contribute whatever amount they were able to. We’ll definitely be continuing this tradition!”

Passing the Plate to Families in Need

This fundraiser was part of the inspiration behind one of the Christmas Bureau’s newest campaigns, Pass the Plate.

Pass the Plate (#PassThePlateYEG) is a small, grassroots initiative that encourages Edmontonians to find small ways to help families in their community this Christmas.

“Edmontonians have already been doing this for decades. Now we want them to tell their story and inspire others to do the same. We’ve always emphasized that we’re about neighbours helping neighbours. Pass the Plate is about taking this spirit to the next level,” says Darlene Kowalchuk, Executive Director of the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton.

Every year, the local charity counts on the support of the community to ensure that Edmonton families, seniors, and individuals in need are able to enjoy a festive meal. Last year alone, the Christmas Bureau served 66,400 Edmontonians, 45 per cent of which were children and teens.

While it’s always difficult to predict the exact number of clients expected to turn to the charity for help, there’s little doubt that it will be an increase from last year.

“With everything happening in the economy at the moment, and with more and more Edmontonians struggling to pay their bills, we’re certainly bracing ourselves for an increase in demand,” says Darlene.

However, the charity is confident that Edmontonians will be inspired to give.

“We’ve seen how generous people can be. It’s absolutely incredible how our community can come together for people in need,” says Darlene.

Getting Involved

If the Badry’s story has inspired you to Pass the Plate, there are many ways to do it.

From volunteering to sponsoring a hamper, fundraising to simply making a donation, the Christmas Bureau wants to hear what your plan is to help local families this holiday season. The charity is encouraging Edmontonians to engage in a dialogue on Twitter using #PassThePlateYEG to bring more attention to the small ways people are making a big difference.

Until the end of December, the charity will be featuring initiatives with the hope of inspiring people to find their own way to make a difference.

“It really doesn’t take much,” says Darlene. “One small boy raised money simply shoveling sidewalks for his neighbours. It may not seem like much, but he raised enough to help a family of two.”

A family of two received a Christmas dinner, thanks to a generous little boy and his trusty shovel.

The fact is, 2016 has been a difficult year for many deserving charities in our city and choosing a charity to support is a very personal decision. For Kelsi, the reason to support the Christmas Bureau was obvious.

“As a mom myself, I couldn’t imagine if my son wasn’t able to have a Christmas dinner. Having food year-round is obviously important, but there’s just something extra-special about that time you share together around the table at Christmas.”

If you would like to learn more about planning your own fundraising activity, visit christmasbureau.ca or call 780-454-6074.

Corinne Mercier is the Marketing and Communications Officer at the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton.

Tags: charity, kids, yeg

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