News

Hotel Dieu Christmas campaign moved downtown

By Allan Benner, The Standard

People packed into Market Square following the Santa Claus Parade for the Lighting of the Holiday Tree in front of City Hall, part of the Snowflakes and Angels Christmas Campaign for the Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre on Sunday, November 20, 2016. Julie Jocsak/ St. Catharines Standard/ Postmedia Network

People packed into Market Square following the Santa Claus Parade for the Lighting of the Holiday Tree in front of City Hall, part of the Snowflakes and Angels Christmas Campaign for the Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre on Sunday, November 20, 2016. Julie Jocsak/ St. Catharines Standard/ Postmedia Network

The Hotel Dieu Shaver foundation is bringing its annual celebration downtown, as it launches its annual Snowflakes and Angels Christmas campaign Friday.

The foundation’s executive director, Mary Jane Johnson, said in past years “a large gala event” was held at Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre on Glenridge Avenue to launch the campaign, but “we changed it up a bit this year.”

“We moved everything to the market square to have it a little more inclusive, so everyone in the community can come,” Johnson said.

She said the foundation is “being a bit more conservative” this year, by again setting its fundraising goal at $125,000 — despite exceeding that goal by $25,000 during the 2016 campaign.

Friday’s launch starts at 4:30 p.m. and continues until 7 p.m., coinciding with the lighting of the tree at St. Catharines city hall at 6 p.m.

Thanks to “amazing sponsors this year,” she said, the event includes free pizza, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, cupcakes and Timbits.

There will also be food, wine and beer vendors, a 50/50 raffle, silent auction, children’s crafts and entertainment including a visit from Santa Claus and Niagara IceDogs mascot Bones.

Although Johnson said the suggested admission fee is $5, “it’s pretty much give what you can.”

It also takes place “right before an IceDogs game,” which should help bolster attendance.

“We did that purposely,” she said with a laugh.

The campaign, which continues until mid-January, is being run in partnership with the city.

“Every time someone donates $50 or more, we let the city know and they light another string of lights on the tree,” Johnson said.

“When the tree is fully lit, we know that we’ve reached our goal.”

Funds collected during the campaign will be used to purchase new equipment for the rehabilitation centre, including electric beds, recumbent bikes and vital sign monitors.

“The community has been incredibly generous over the years, helping us reach our goal, so we’re very thankful for that,” Johnson said.

ABenner@postmedia.com

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