Jupiter George and Agnes Ratcliff will each receive one of the gifts donated to Cool Aid this year. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria Cool Aid Society faces holiday gift shortage for its patrons

Cool Aid has less than half of the required gifts for people staying in its shelters

The Victoria Cool Aid Society is reaching out to the public for help as it faces a gift shortage for people staying in shelters this Christmas.

This year, for example, Jupiter George is having her first Christmas at the Sandy Merriman House, which Cool Aid operates. The women’s supportive housing unit helps women who are getting back on their feet, but around the holiday season staff try to do more than that, they try to make patrons feel like family.

“I’m trying to get into the Christmas spirit because the holidays are always so hard for me,” George said. “I think it’s amazing how they are always here for people, here and on the streets.”

One way Cool Aid has done this is by making sure its patrons receive holiday gifts. In the past, Cool Aid worked with Homeless Partners to interview people and find out specifically what they’d like for Christmas.

ALSO READ: Victoria Cool Aid Society see busiest year yet

Agnes Ratcliff received one of these gifts last year when she got a pair of winter boots.

“It was nice to wake up to something under the tree, it was like being a little kid again,” Ratcliff said.

This year, however, Cool Aid has had to shift its course after the organizers at Homeless Partners retired, leaving staff with a short window to organize something together.

“This year we created a new program with an online shopping cart,” said Lori Angelini, manager of philanthropy at Cool Aid. “People can go online and choose from a variety of gift cards from some local and some bigger stores … We thought that would be a good way to ensure that people get something for Christmas.”

Gift cards can be purchased for Peninsula Co-Op, Save-On-Foods, Mark’s Work Warehouse, 7-11, WIN, Shoppers Drug Mart, Tim Hortons, McDonald’s or Walmart. Cool Aid patrons can then choose which gift card they’d like to receive.

ALSO READ: Our Place’s annual Christmas meal feeds hundreds

Cool Aid hopes to have 200 cards purchased, but so far only 60 have been bought.

“We’re definitely facing a shortage,” Angelini said.

The gift cards range in price from $25 to $50, or a different amount can be donated directly to Cool Aid for its continuing work.

“Just being able to give to people who might not otherwise have a Christmas is a wonderful idea,” Ratcliff said. “Programs like this definitely help you feel like you’re loved and cared for at Christmas, it’s super important and it’s helped me a lot.”

Anyone interested in purchasing a gift card can visit coolaid.org/buyagift.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Victoria Cool Aid Society

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UVic Vikes new basketball coach on the fast track

At 26, Shalie Dheensaw assumed head coaching role

Spring shift in service includes no weekend late night bus services in Greater Victoria

Annual shift into spring sees additional decrease in frequency on multiple routes

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Excess activity damaging Saanich golf course – despite being closed

Cedar Hill Golf Course manager reminds people of the 170 parks available in Saanich

Greater Victoria liquor stores see spike in sales amidst COVID-19

Customers are buying go-to products in larger quantities

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Nanaimo man arrested after allegedly setting house fire

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road in Cedar on Thursday

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Most Read