Santa's helpers spread holiday cheer

Dave Mathieson
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RIVER HEBERT - If there's a Grinch out there plotting to steal Christmas from the town of River Hebert, he's not going to get very far.
That's because Santa's Little Helpers are on the lookout for any spoilers.
Santa's Little Helpers are a River Hebert school-based program that provides gifts, turkeys and trees to needy families, makings sure everyone has a very, merry Christmas.
"Santa's Little Helpers was started last year by 17-year-old high school student Catherine Rector," Santa's Little Helpers co-ordinator Glenda Janes said. "Last year they brought Christmas to 30 people and this year they have a total of 43 people they will be bringing Christmas to."
Santa's Little Helpers were started two weeks before Christmas last year.
t is a program whereby elementary and high school students create Christmas packages from items donated from the community.
Rector, who is now an 18 year-old college student in Truro, came up with the Santa's Little Helpers idea last year while discussing a childhood memory at the kitchen table with her mom.
"It was actually something my mom did when we were living in Ontario when I was seven or eight years old," Rector said. "I said it would be nice to do that again and then we said, 'well why don't we. It all just went from there."
The next day Rector pitched the idea to her high school principal and he liked the idea.
"So we went through details with him, like having a canned food drive to the school," Rector said. "And we went to the classes and asked for donations of money and food and toys. It all went from there."
Looking back to what they had done last year, Rector says, "it was probably the simplest thing we ever started.
"It's been so simple because of the support of the community," Rector added. "When your sitting at the tree with your family on Christmas morning and know that the community has come together to help those who might not have anything, whether it's food or toys, it's a great feeling."
Another benefit of the program is it helps kids realize Christmas is about more than receiving gifts.
"We recently had 8 children from the elementary packing groceries and 8 from the high school helping out also," Janes said. "So it's a good way to help young children understand there are a lot of people out there that need help."

Organizations: River Hebert school

Geographic location: RIVER HEBERT, Truro, Ontario

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