Carole’s story

Volunteering for Christmas at Moorelands… it’s worth it!

by Carole Legget (aka Christmas Carole)

In 1996 I volunteered for Christmas Sharing at the Downtown Churchworkers Association, as Moorelands was then called. Jan Kerst, the Coordinator and I, self-proclaimed ‘Queen of the Basement’, worked in happy, sometimes madcap harmony in the old Carlaw Avenue warren basement where “Turn right at the dead mouse” helped find the storeroom one day. Christmas Sharing was labour intensive in the mid ’90s since only some of our families were adopted. We packed gift and food boxes for some two hundred families with the help of many volunteers. Once in a while we found ourselves with a surprise delivery and no volunteers.

One such snowy, stormy December morning an 18-wheeler arrived early with all the food to be packed, only the volunteers were coming in the afternoon. With ‘All hands to the pumps’ spirit our four hands took on the daunting task. In very similar light blue jackets, white hair flying, we unloaded what felt like tons of cases of jars, tins and boxes of food onto a huge commercial dolly that we could barely control. (So much for workplace safety.) Passing truck drivers slowed, stared, waved and honked at the unlikely duo questioning why two ladies-of-a-certain-age were unloading a truck. Had the company fallen on hard times? Had we? We said ‘They must be wondering what on earth those two old broads are doing’ and laughed so much we could hardly continue unloading.

Trucks no longer roll up with tons of food. Families now select their own food with grocery gift cards provided by adopters. Each Christmas when I think of the ‘old days’ of lifting, hauling and packing, I wonder how we did it but never why. I remember the mom who danced, sang and hugged us; the dad who said not a word, but called the next day to say he was so overcome, speechless and the mom who burst into tears when she saw that all three children had skates. There were the parents who set off with impossibly laden buggies and backpacks in rush hour; the mom who made five TTC trips across the city carrying bags and the mom so thrilled with the pictures to hang on her bare walls and…….It was worth it. It still is.

Christmas Carole