Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington reports its 2020 Tree of Hope Holiday Appeal reached a hundred-year milestone. The campaign announced it has raised $150,000 as of December 16, which is over twice its monetary goal of the previous year.
“When we started, we had no idea we’d get this kind of result. We’re so grateful for the community support we received. With this success we will be able to help these same kids all-year round,” said John Suart, Manager of Community Relations.
For the first time in a hundred years, due to the pandemic, the campaign did not collect toys but instead issued gift cards to families as well as purchasing special items such as beds and baby gear and winter clothing for more than 100 children.
The monetary goal for the Tree of Hope was $50,000 when it started on November 12 but soon increased to $60,000. Stuart said the agency spent more and more, exceeding their budgets, due to the needs of the kids they serve, adding “We just hoped that we would be able to raise the money to cover it all and we did, and then some.”
The 2020 Tree of Hope – Southeastern Ontario’s oldest holiday appeal – helped almost 750 kids, including 30 babies. It was noted that the age of recipients was noticeably younger than last year overall with children under the age of eight represented more than 50 percent of all referrals, compared to 40 percent in 2019. Just over half of all kids served lived in Kingston with one in four of those outside Kingston residing in Napanee.
The Tree of Hope was supported by more than 2,500 donors, including individuals, organizations, churches, businesses and foundations. The Title Sponsor was Van Herpt Motors. The Presenting Sponsor was Rapport Credit Union. The campaign was run by a team of a dozen staff members from various departments which started their planning last June.
Donations to the Tree of Hope continue to be accepted until the end of January at the campaign’s website.