The Helping Hands Society of Cochrane and Area is asking people to get out this holiday season and give back to their community.
Jackie Shier, the society’s executive director, said Helping Hands’ Christmas Kindness Challenge encourages members of the community to help their neighbours, friends and those in need.
“Every December we get a lot of people who want to volunteer but we don’t always have something that fits their schedule,” said Shier.
That influx of willing volunteers with no where to lend a hand sparked the Christmas Challenge, which gives anyone at any time an opportunity to help brighten someone’s day.
“We’re encouraging people to do random acts of kindness,” said Shier, emphasizing that helping does not always mean reaching into the wallet – important while the economy continues to struggle.
“This is a way to teach our kids about acts of service,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be someone in need, it can just be doing something nice for someone.
Last year, people stepped up and about 300 acts of kindness were completed varying from helping shovel snow, babysitting for free, children singing, baking cookies and more.
This year the society is hoping to beat last year’s numbers and is asking people to fill out the act of kindness Christmas bulbs that will be featured in an ad in the Cochrane Eagle each week.
Each bulb can be brought to Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre to be featured on the Christmas Challenge wall – extra bulbs will be available at the sports centre in case people forget to bring theirs. Submission forms will also be sent to community schools to encourage local youth to get involved.
Those who participate in the challenge will also have an opportunity to win prizes. To get in on the draw one has to only write their name and number on the back of the Christmas bulb submission. This year’s prize includes dinner at Half Hitch Brewery, movies at the Cochrane Movie House and swim passes.
Shier said last year’s winner made her prize and act of kindness by donating it to a family in need. She also emphasized entering the draw is optional and no one is required to write their names on their submissions.
The Cochrane Eagle, Cochrane Movie House, Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre, Half Hitch Brewery and Helping Hands are sponsoring the challenge.
Half Hitch Brewery will also be pitching in through its second Community Keg Night, where half the proceeds from the Dec. 14 charity event will go to Helping Hands. Money will come from half the proceeds of the guest keg and $1 from every Half Hitch beer sold between 6 and 9 p.m.
“We are hoping to get people out to drink beer for a good cause that night,” Shier said.