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Local agency forced to find new ways to spread Christmas Cheer

Due to the pandemic, you cannot donate food or toys this year, but monetary donations are welcome; 'We will do everything we can to support you,' official vows

Barrie and District Christmas Cheer officials announced on Friday that they will be doing things a little differently this year, but that the approximately 1,800 families who count on the organization can be assured they will be served.

Christmas Cheer officials held a press conference today at 1125 Bayfield St. N. to announce how the organization will get donated food and toys to those in the community who need a little help this time of year. 

Cheer’s past-president and spokesperson at today's event, Leah Wells, told BarrieToday that those who use the services that the organization provides need not worry.

“We will be here for you in 2020 and we will do everything we can to support you,” said Wells.

While most people are used to heading to Christmas Cheer’s physical location to sign up for the service they provide, social distancing and adherance to public health guidelines has forced everything to go online. The organization will be providing information on the online applications as soon as they are finalized. 

In addition to being able to send monetary donations through the Christmas Cheer website, there will be an announcement soon of a donation-by-text system that will start in November. 

“We’re really disappointed that we can’t be receiving food and toy donations; the community really shows up for us in that way. Sometimes it is easier for people to donate food rather than a cash donation,” said Wells. “We’ll have to evaluate how this year goes and for next year, we will plan accordingly.”

Formerly located at 364 St. Vincent St., the organization moved to 49 Truman Rd. for the new season. Wells told BarrieToday that the new building will still be the 2020 headquarters for anything the organization needs to get done.

“We will still use that space for storage and we will need it for any work we have to get done at all,” said Wells. “Anything we’ll be doing will be in small groups and it will take place at the warehouse. It is so unfortunate we won’t be seeing all of our 1,200 volunteers, but we’re hoping they’re safe and well and we'll see them, hopefully, soon.”

To stay updated on how to donate by text to Christmas Cheer and how to apply for help, head to to their website here.

Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based in Barrie
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