Need still strong 100 years after Christmas Cheer Board of Winnipeg began

In 1919, churches across Winnipeg began to provide Christmas food hampers and toys to widows and orphans of soldiers lost during the First World War.

Those churches would later combine their efforts to create The Christmas Cheer Board of Winnipeg.

More than 1,000 of the cheer board's volunteers are students from across the city. (File image)
This year, the board is marking a century of providing hampers to Winnipeggers during the holidays.

“We started our operations because of a need and the need is still there,” said Linda Grayston, Christmas Cheer Board assistant executive director.

Today, the registered Canadian charity provides more than 17,000 hampers and gifts to children and families in Winnipeg each holiday season.

“For the people who receive them, it’s amazing,” said Grayston.

They can also leave a lasting impression.

“We have older people who come in with donations and often times we talk to them and they say, ‘I got a hamper when I was a child. That was the only thing that we got. Without that I wouldn’t have known what it was like to celebrate Christmas the same way,’ and so that makes us feel really good,” Grayston said. “We know there’s many people like that who come in.”

Grayston said the board couldn’t have lasted a century without the approximately 3,000 people who volunteer their time each year.

“Our volunteer base grows every year and we have hundreds and hundreds of volunteers that come and work with us,” she said.

More than 1,000 of those volunteers are students from across the city.

“We bring them in twice a day over a three-week period and they pack all the hampers,” Grayston said. “It’s amazing. Those kids work so hard. And they sing songs and they laugh. It’s wonderful.”

The cheer board operates under the guidance of its long-serving executive director, Kai Madsen.

As the board celebrates 100 years, Madsen -- who got his start with the board delivering hampers -- is also celebrating a milestone: fifty years with the board.

“He’s passionate about the Cheer Board,” Grayston said. “He just loves it and he just considers it a fun adventure every year.”

Source: CTV Winnipeg

Miracle a massive success

Kai Madsen, Executive Director of the Christmas Cheer Board which distributed 17,000 hampers to families this Christmas.

The Christmas tree in the Winnipeg Free Press atrium has been packed away for another year and the newspaper wants to thank generous readers for their donations to its annual holiday fundraising campaign.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

New Twist to Miracle on Mountain Campaign

By: Jen Zoratti

For 99 years, the Christmas Cheer Board has been working hard to ensure everyone has a happy holiday, and for 49 of those years, Kai Madsen, the charity's executive director, has been a part of making that miracle happen.

"I thought about retiring, but making it to 50 and 100 would be really neat," he says from the Cheer Board's new location on St. James Street, acknowledging the dual significance of 2019.

Madsen's work is not easy, but it's rewarding, and it's made lighter by the generosity of Winnipeggers who help put food on tables and presents under trees by volunteering both their time and money. Making a donation to the Christmas Cheer Board has become a holiday tradition for many people.

Supporting the Christmas Cheer Board is a holiday tradition for us here at the Winnipeg Free Press, too. Today, we're kicking off our fifth annual Miracle on Mountain fundraising campaign that collects monetary donations for the Christmas Cheer Board to pay for food and other items packed into hampers.

"The tradition of our readers stepping up to help the Christmas Cheer Board is part of what makes the holiday season so special in our city," says Free Press editor Paul Samyn. "We are delighted to once again ask our audience to make a Miracle On Mountain so we can make a difference for so many at Christmas."

Cheer Board hopes Winnipeggers dig deep for less fortunate

“If they wrote a cheque last year, make sure you write one for this year. Because that’s really how we do it, getting the message out that it’s time to think Christmas,” Christmas Cheer Board's Kai Madsen said.

As it settles into new digs for its 99th year, the Christmas Cheer Board can now go about its business of occupying the hearts and minds of Winnipeggers during the holiday season.

Source: Winnipeg Sun

Canadian Tire stores helping to bring Cheer

Winnipeg outlets gladly donate $36,000 to Free Press Xmas fundraiser.

Canadian Tire says in its advertisements it has everything you would need for the holidays — but it also helps give everything the hungry in our community would need for the holiday.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Donating to charity will improve your life

Recent statements by local and national charities say that donations are down significantly since last year. Many of these organizations are critical to the community at this time of year, like Winnipeg Harvest, the Christmas Cheer Board and many others.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

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