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The Christmas Bureau

Candy Cane Lane and Chocolate?

By: Barb Matwie 

Hot Chocolate that is!  You can enjoy both just days before Christmas on the south end of Candy Cane Lane.  “That’s where we live,” the girls say.  Elizabeth and Emily support the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton by holding their own fundraiser just days before Christmas.  For a donation, they offer hot chocolate to the pedestrians and deliver to your vehicle as you drive by and enjoy the amazing scenery Candy Cane Lane has to offer.

How did this all start?  They used to do a lemonade stand in the summer and then, seeing that they live on Candy Cane Lane, with their dad’s assistance, decided to have hot chocolate sales in December and help out the less fortunate at Christmas time.

This will be the third year the girls have their hot chocolate stand for the Christmas Bureau and do their part to help 62,000 Edmontonians in need of a festive meal at Christmas time.  “At Christmas we always have a special meal and we think everyone else should too,” says Elizabeth, 12.  Up to 10 of their friends join the sisters in what has become a Christmas tradition.  They all make signs together, help with making the hot chocolate, counting the money and then having pizza and a sleepover.  “It’s fun being involved, everybody pitches in and has something to do,”,says Emily, 10.

In 2011, the girls raised $401.  In just a few hours on a Saturday night in 2012, they raised $626 which was matched by parents and other donations for a total of $1,409, which helped provide a festive meal for 14 families of four.  The Christmas Bureau of Edmonton is honoured to have these community-minded individuals on their fundraising team.

“People don’t always have the best life, and need help with food at Christmas,” says Emily.

Elizabeth and Emily have started a tradition in their families -- one the Christmas Bureau hopes will continue for many years. “It’s great to see young philanthropists in the making and we are honoured to have them on the Christmas Bureau team,” says Wendy Batty, Executive Director of the Christmas Bureau.

The volunteer and philanthropy gene is well ingrained in Elizabeth and Emily.  Christmas is not their only time to think of the less fortunate.  Volunteering throughout the year, the girls assisted at the McCauley Senior drop-in this past summer where they served meals.

Taking Elizabeth’s and Emily’s philosophy of helping at Christmas, there are opportunities for other youth teams to help the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton.  In 2013, the Christmas Bureau anticipates that 62,000 individuals will need assistance at a cost of $1.8 million.  Individuals or teams can hold their own fundraisers in their neighbourhood, school, and community league or through their sports team or service organization.  The type of fundraiser is up to the individual or group and the proceeds can be donated to the Christmas Bureau.  Groups can contact the Christmas Bureau at 780.454.6074 for more information and assistance in getting their fundraiser going.

Barb Matwie is Communications and Promotions Coordinator, and seasonal employee at the Christmas Bureau. 

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