Airdrie Meal on Wheels Society is hosting its second annual Virtual Christmas Tree Decorating fundraiser this holiday season, aimed at raising money to continue helping locals in need.
“I guess you could say this was inspired by COVID-19, like many other online initiatives,” said Lois Jones, media representative for Airdrie Meals on Wheels.
With fundraising becoming increasingly difficult throughout the pandemic due to public health restrictions on in-person gatherings, Airdrie Meals on Wheels has had to be creative in ways it could still raise money for the growing need in the community, which birthed the virtual tree-decorating initiative in 2020.
“Everybody likes decorating Christmas trees, so we are inviting the public to join us by buying virtual decorations,” Jones said.
Decorations that participants can purchase for the online tree include a garland, which can be purchased for any amount, a candy cane for $25, lights for $35, a Christmas ball for $45, a star for $75, and presents under the tree for $100.
With uncertainty still lingering with the ongoing pandemic, Jones said Meals on Wheels felt it would be safer to continue with the online fundraising route. She added that hopefully in 2022, the organization can get back to more traditional, in-person ways of fundraising.
“We were able to have a spring fundraiser because it was an outside and easy to do, and we were able to participate in airdrieFEST, but to plan a fundraiser and execute it in such uncertain times, we felt for this year, we would do the virtual Christmas tree again,” Jones said. “We are hoping the community is as generous and forthcoming as they were last year.”
Airdrie Meals on Wheels, according to its website, has been operating in the city since 1983. The non-profit provides individuals with nutritious and affordable meals delivered to their door five days a week, with extra meals available for the weekends.
All donations go directly to the cost of putting together the meals.
According to Jones, the Meals on Wheels service continues to grow locally, with distribution averaging about 400 meals a month.
“Those are going to citizens of Airdrie, that for whatever reason, are unable to shop or prepare nutritional meals,” she said.
For interested participants, the tree-decorating fundraiser will run until Dec. 31. People can visit the website at airdriemealsonwheels.ca, where more information is available on how to purchase virtual decorations for the tree.
“There is no real limit,” Jones said. “You are more than welcome to donate [whatever] is suitable for your budgetary limits.”
Jones added the fundraiser is hoping to raise $5,000 this year, which would be an increase from the amount raised in 2020.
“We came in under that last year, but I’m going to keep my goal still at $5,000,” she said.