Once again, Cochranites rose to the challenge of supporting those in need this holiday season.
In just over a month, First Responder Community Parades occurred in almost every community (minus two due to COVID restrictions), as crews collected donations to support the Cochrane Activettes ‘Share Your Christmas’ campaign.
Ann Beatty, Co-Chair of the Cochrane Activettes Food Bank, shares in the end, the parades brought in 201 grocery carts of food and 54 carts of toys to ensure all community members have something to celebrate on Christmas morning.
Thrilled with the overall totals, Beatty, says Cochranite’s generosity continues to amaze the non-profit organization year after year. “It was overwhelming, and they definitely met the need. The one thing we did notice this year, was that people seemed to really pay attention to the ‘needed items’ we listed, as those were the things they donated. The parades really helped as we got many of the items right when we needed them, at the right time.
On the First Responder side, Inspector Jeff Avery with Cochrane Fire Services shares the parades were full of heartwarming moments. “I thought they went really well, until we had to shut things down. We did a tremendous job collecting food and donations, and so many people were out. Even though they themselves may have been out of work or down on their luck, they still found it in their hearts to donate something to someone even less fortunate than themselves. It is always so great to see Cochranites do that, anytime we ask them to help out, they always do.”
Twenty-six firefighters, four members of municipal enforcement, eleven RCMP members, and a handful of paramedics were at the heart of Christmas parades. Capturing moments of all the parades, fifteen-year-old Cade Legg, says he really enjoyed watching the community come together in support of the food bank and First Responders. “I attended most of them as I wanted to show as much support as I could while getting a few pictures here and there to capture the action. This is something I will definitely look back on when everything returns to normal, or whatever the new normal is.”
With the parades being such a hit, Corporal Troy Savinkoff with Cochrane RCMP, says he is hopeful this becomes an annual event, regardless of the pandemic. “We were very happy with the turnout of the Community Emergency Parades, and Cochrane definitely pulled through in terms of food bank donations and toys. I think that many residents took it upon themselves, that if they were going to donate, this was an easy and good venue for them to do that. I know the Cochrane RCMP was extremely happy, proud and honoured to take part in these. From my perspective, I really hope this is something we can do even outside of COVID with continued support, as I believe we have something really special here that we could continue to host for years to come.”
In total, 288 Christmas hampers were disbursed to help individuals and families in need this holiday season, which was down slightly, from 2019. Thanks to overall community generosity, the Activettes share they are in great shape as they head into 2021. “I think everyone is also very focused on giving back because of the pandemic and wanting to help their neighbours. We want to give a huge thank you to the community, as it has been overwhelmingly amazing.”
With COVID restrictions, the Activettes have done an amazing job by manning many of the volunteer hours solely by themselves this year.