Support the Uxbridge Cares Basket Holiday Program 2022
COURTNEY McCLURE, The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Uxbridge Cares has started its' Basket Program this holiday season. The program opened in November and will end on Sunday, December 11th.
Uxbridge Cares was started in 2017, so this year will be their sixth year running the Holiday Basket Program, member Michelle Lee explained. The holiday program was inspired during one of Ms. Lee's volunteer sessions with the local schools.
She became aware, some of the children didn't have the necessary things to succeed at school or home.
"Working together with the school administrators and educators, we all decided we wanted to do something for these families, to show them they have the support of their entire community, [and] Uxbridge Cares."
The programs at Uxbridge Cares rely heavily on the "incredible" administrative and education staff at many local schools. Uxbridge Cares has worked with the Uxbridge Public School, Joseph Gould Public School and Quaker Village Public School.
These schools have provided Uxbridge Cares with a checklist of the families' necessities. Uxbridge Cares does not receive any identification about the families; the information provided by the school is anonymous.
"The goal of our program is to provide them [families] with enough support, especially during the holiday season," shared Ms. Lee.
Once Uxbridge Cares receives the checklist of what the participating families need, they work with their Basket Partners and local businesses across Uxbridge, who help with the holiday program.
A basket is set up at a specific location, for example, the Uxbridge Public Library. Then the business collects donations from the community to fill the basket.
A few basket locations include: Pharmasave, Uxbridge Medical Pharmacy and Home Health Care Centre, Urban Pantry (restaurant) and The Lemonade Stand.
They also have one private donor, said Ms. Lee. Five community partners have offered to host other ways to support the nine families on their list.
Over the six years Uxbridge Cares has been around, they have completed many "small" initiatives outside their Holiday Basket Program.
For example, they worked with social services to support local families impacted by the tornado which swept through Uxbridge this past spring. During that time, Uxbridge Cares provided backpacks, school supplies and snacks to many local children.
They also set up a "Little Free Pantry," assisted by the founder of Take Root Creative, Caitlin Christoff Taillon, and the library's Corrinne Morrison.
Setting up a Little Free Pantry has always been a wish for Ms. Lee, so she was thankful to get one established finally.
The pantry is located in the library's courtyard, on Toronto Street South. Instead of books, the pantry contains non-perishable food items and other basic necessities. It is open 24/7, with a motto of, "Take what you need, leave what you can."
According to Ms. Lee, the pantry is used almost daily by locals in need. A group of local volunteers maintains the pantry.
The Rotary Club of Uxbridge has been helping to keep the pantry stocked. Uxbridge Cares is also working on creating a larger pantry.
If you're interested in donating to the Basket Program, checklists can be found on Instagram and Facebook, by visiting Uxbridge Cares' page(s).
Currently, Uxbridge Cares is seeking volunteers to help maintain the pantry. If you're interested, please reach out to them through email, at email@example.com, or you can direct message to them through Instagram or Facebook.