How a stuffed bunny captured the joy of giving in a Saskatoon neighbourhood
Stonebridge group gifts necessities to family after mother loses job
The way a two-year-old girl's eyes lit up when a local "elf" handed her a stuffed pink bunny during an emotional gift delivery has reminded a Saskatoon woman what Christmas is all about.
The little girl's family is having a tough year: her mother lost her job, her father left and they have had to move in with her grandmother.
But earlier this month, Twyla Baschuk and about 17 people in the Stonebridge neighbourhood made plans to fill the girl's family's living room with necessities and gifts that the group of helpers has spent the past month collecting.
One of the girl's brothers is on the autism spectrum so her mother took him out for the night, leaving the two-year-old girl and her grandmother at home to greet Baschuk and her "elves."
The grandmother was in tears over the sheer amount of items they brought.
Baschuk's son Koby, who loves to hand-deliver gifts, was delighted by the way the girl hugged the pink bunny she was gifted.
"She was overwhelmed with joy just to have one pink stuffy," Baschuk said during a special live-on-location episode of CBC's Saskatoon Morning.
"She really didn't care about everything else."
That moment alone made Christmas worthwhile, she said. In the following days, the girl has kept the bunny nearby at all times.
Baschuk found out about the family's struggles when her son's school reached out to see if she'd consider the family in her Christmas tradition of "adopting" a family to help out each year.
The mother was struggling to find a job when she couldn't afford the Internet or a cell phone for potential employers to contact her, Baschuk said.
As the stressors stacked up the mother was "crying at the drop of a hat," Baschuk said.
The mother has asked Baschuk not to use her name and, at first, was reluctant to accept the help.
"Mom was proud and mom thought, 'No, I can do it,'" Baschuk said.
"It just seemed to snowball and snowball and snowball. It came to our attention as the school started noticing Mom losing a lot of weight."
When she put a call out on Facebook asking people to help the mom, Baschuk's neighbours in Stonebridge stepped up.
"It went a little crazy," she said.
Besides delivering the gifts, the group was able to fill the mother's pantry and fridge, pay for the woman's autism services bill and help lessen the family's load over the next few months.
They'll even be bringing over Christmas breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Baschuk has been "adopting" a family for the past 10 years. She said it's paying forward the support she got when she became a mother at 16.
"I know exactly what she was going through. Because you want to be strong, you want to be the mom, you want to keep it together."
The annual act of kindness has created relationships and a sense of community with her fellow donors, she said.
With files from CBC Saskatoon Morning