Helping families in need for Christmas: Operation Decoration
Christmas decorations, ornaments are free for the taking in St. John's on Saturday
What began as a spur-of-the-moment thought to give away a few boxes of Christmas decorations has turned into a rallied network of support for those in need.
CBC reporter Amy Stoodley told Weekend AM Saturday that the idea came from a young family group on Facebook that she's a part of.
Stoodley said she went into the crawl space of her home and realized there were a lot of decorations in boxes, not being used.
She posted to her Facebook group, saying she'd put together a number of items that were free for the taking.
"So, these moms started reaching out and they were looking for Christmas decorations … and I had tons of this stuff," said Stoodley.
"Then I had all these people messaging me — and I realized that there were a lot of people who don't have any Christmas decorations — and they can't afford to buy new ones."
Stoodley and a small group of friends then organized Operation Decoration, whose aim was to collect gently-used Christmas decorations to donate to families in need.
Decoration pick up day on Saturday
Stoodley said once the project and its Facebook page were launched, things took off, and donations poured in for the last three weeks.
She said many families can't afford to have much under their Christmas tree, but they still want to decorate, especially for their children.
"When you have a family, and you have children waiting for Santa … of course you want to put some things up to set the scene for the big jolly elf, so I thought this was a great way to help," she said.
"By decorating and creating a space that's joyous and happy, then you're building memories with your family. People are proud of their space when they can welcome people in, and there's a comfortable, cozy Christmas scene."
I realized that there were a lot of people who don't have any Christmas decorations, and they can't afford to buy new ones.- Amy Stoodley
Stoodley acknowledged the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador were of tremendous help to her group by opening up their space to allow people to drop in and donate Christmas items.
"And [the] people who participate in their program so kindly packaged it all up for me, and the city donated a space for pickup day. Now we have a whole lot of Christmas stuff," Stoodley said.
That space is the Mundy Pond Visitor Services Centre, a building on Blackler Avenue in St. John's.
Stoodley said she and other Operation Decoration volunteers will be at the pickup centre until 4 p.m. Saturday, giving out Christmas decorations on a first-come, first-served basis.
She added that it's likely the project will return next year.
With files from Heather Barrett