Miracle a massive success
Free Press readers donate more than $77,000
By: Alexandra Paul
Posted: 01/12/2019 3:00 AM
RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
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.
Readers donated $77,734 through the paper’s annual Miracle on Mountain campaign in 2018 to support the Christmas Cheer Board.
The single largest donation was $1,732 from Jensen Nursery and Garden Centre on McGillivray Boulevard in this final update for the campaign.
Donors added another $10,000 over and above the total collected at the paper through the ‘Miracle on Mountain’ icon on the cheer board’s website, an increase of about 20 per cent over last year’s online donations.
Supporting the cheer board is a holiday tradition at the paper.
The 2018 campaign was the fifth annual event to be held under the Miracle on Mountain banner, but the paper has held campaigns every year for decades, ever since its sports writers dreamed up the very first one. Over the last half-century, the paper has raised millions for the charity.
Monetary donations for the Christmas Cheer Board pay for food and other items packed into hampers.
"As always, I am amazed at the generosity of our readers. Without fail, they respond to our challenge by digging into their wallets to help us make a Miracle on Mountain for the Christmas Cheer Board," Free PressEditor Paul Samyn said.
The cheer board distributed 17,000 hampers to families in time for Christmas, many of them families with young children, the board’s longtime executive director Kai Madsen said in an interview.
"Miracle on Mountain did awesome," Madsen said. The cheer board is now closed for the season, but volunteers are still tallying up donations until the end of February.
The cheer board had a goal to raise $850,000 for Christmas 2018 and number crunching so far indicates it’s about $50,000 to $60,000 short of the target.
"We’re a little short but I’m cautiously optimistic," Madsen said, adding that anyone who hasn’t donated this year,can still help out.
"If people forgot to send a cheque like they did last year, they can remember now," he said.
The cheer board has been making miracles happen since 1919.
In the upcoming year, the board’s annual Christmas campaign will mark two anniversaries, the 100th anniversary for the organization and the 50th year that Madsen has been with the campaign.
Expect some fanfare when the board kicks off its campaign for Christmas 2019.
Madsen said he’d been mulling over retirement, but the charity’s board asked him to stay on to make the anniversary a double celebration.
"One more year," Madsen said.