Out of chaos came Stephanie McConnell. She’s the woman who makes sure the Times Colonist Christmas Fund gives people the extra help they need.
Continuing today and Thursday, the 2,400 applicants who are receiving vouchers for food and merchandise are collecting them from the Times Colonist building at 2621 Douglas St., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
But those vouchers really help many more people because applications are often made on behalf of entire families. Gift vouchers are handed out according to the number of children and adults in a family.
That can get a little complicated, but into those situations steps McConnell — who calls herself the “disbursement co-ordinator” — and a team of 10.
“It can be hard at first,” McConnell said Tuesday, the opening day of the disbursements.
“But then you watch that one person who opens up their envelope and sees how much they have been helped. It makes you feel pretty good.”
The Times Colonist Christmas Fund has been helping people for 56 years.
Successful applicants are given vouchers for groceries and stores to use at Christmas.
Grocery vouchers valued up to $150 per family are awarded, with $60 vouchers to local stores passed along for each child.
The Times Colonist pays for all administration and handling costs.
All donors to the Christmas Fund can be assured all their dollars are helping people.
For McConnell, the several weeks of helping out with the Times Colonist Christmas Fund has become an annual tradition. It’s her third year now, and many of the team are friends whom she recruited herself.
And when things get a little hectic, she just keeps looking ahead.
“All it ever takes is just one person to say thank you, and that just makes it all right,” she said.
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