Festival of Trees Swan Song – Helping the Regina Community

From Regina Wascana at Regina, Saskatchewan on 14/12/2020

This past December, our club has been hard at work helping to ensure the children who live at Sophia House had warm winter clothing….and spread some Christmas Cheer.

For almost three decades, our club hosted an annual Festival of Trees every fall to raise money for our community, over that time, we raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for those in need in the Regina Community.

Events and fundraisers have changed greatly over the years and we retired Festival of Trees in 2016.

We had a storage unit full to the brim with artificial trees, lights, extension cords and all the many different items necessary to execute an event of the magnitude of our Festival of Trees.  It was a daunting task to sort through it all, and we were very excited to be able to donate our inventory to many in our Regina community who could use some extra cheer.

The bulk of our tree donations went to ten families at the second Sophia House.  A second stage women’s shelter that provides stable and safe housing for families who have escaped domestic abuse.  We were able to provide every family with a tree, lights, extension cords, power bars helping these families create a warm Christmas space.

We didn’t have a lot of extra decorations and fortunately received some very generous donations of decorations from our community  including one donation of  5 overflowing containers of beautiful decorations for the families,  as well as some smaller donations from our community.   CPC Regina Centre member Mauro Montanini donated the use of his companies moving truck and a crew to deliver the trees to Sophia House, and we couldn’t have done it without them!

We also learned from the executive director of Sophia House, that a lot of the children didn’t have much in the way of warm clothes for winter, so was an easy next step to solicit donations for children’s winter clothes.  At first, we aimed for at least a new pair of gloves/mitts for each child and it soon became a mission to have a new jacket and brand-new underwear for each child.

We sent out letters and emails asking friends and family if they were able to donate and as always, the Regina community came through.  We also asked for “essentials” such as toothpaste, shampoo and personal items and received boxes, and BOXES, and BOXES of donations.

All told we donated 20 trees to Sophia House, Canadian Mental Health Association and various individuals within the community, as well as a new jacket, underwear, mitts/gloves and toques to each of  the 30 children who resided in Sophia House, as well as dozens and dozens of personal items for the families. Their need is still great, but we were so grateful to help provide a new jacket to each child, essential personal items for the families, warm mitts and gloves…and some Christmas love!

All of the donations totalled almost $7000 ($1000 cash and $6000 Gift in Kind of clothing, personal items and decorations)

Covid restrictions have made helping our community much more challenging and we are so grateful to be able to put our trees to good use, and for the support we always receive from the Regina Community to help us make a difference in the lives of those who really need a hand up.

Stay safe and Happy New Year from Brittany, Christina, Debra, Karen, Tammy and Sheila!