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The Donnelly Group's Orphan Christmas

For the second year in a row, The Donnelly Group is leading Orphans Christmas this Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


The Donnelly Group's Orphan Christmas
Photo of Damon Holowchak courtesy of The Donnelly Group

"It sucks not to have a turkey dinner" on Christmas day, The Donnelly Group’s Damon Holowchak noted. Which is exactly why the staff at Donnelly will be spending their holiday providing residents of the Downtown Eastside with warm food and clothes.

For the second year, the Donnelly Group is leading Orphans Christmas this Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“There’s so much more need than we can even understand. We know there are there are programs and people helping down there,” said Holowchak. “Visually, if you live or work downtown and go through the Downtown Eastside, you see that the need is great. What we noticed from last year was that there was no shortage of people with hungry bellies or of the fundamental basic needs on Christmas day.”

For volunteers, the day starts off at Lamplighter to assemble meals for distribution. This generally consists of a turkey sandwich, some soup, a drink and some snacks. Donnelly group is hoping to throw in a warm pair of socks to the mix this year.

“I really like that it’s a homegrown thing that we just felt the need to do, and it’s overwhelming with participation and people are having so much fun.” he added.

“It’s such a cool thing. It’s heartwarming, but people just go do it. It’s cold and crappy outside, and man they work very hard. Last year, we put together 500 meals and we they put them all together in 45 minutes.”

Despite being located in a 19 plus location, families asked to have their kids join in on the initiative. Last year, Holowchak says he had to stop the volunteer count at 30, while this year he capped the count at 40.

“It’s great to be give back to the community, which is in great need. But also at a lonely time for people, we can offer a little bit of good cheer,” he mentioned. “We’re a part of the great great community down there.”

Holowchak recommends that if you’re looking for an opportunity to give back, “being pro-active” is the key.

“If you just look, you will find opportunities (to help out). It’s not just the Downtown Eastside that needs it; we delivered meals to the west end. It would surprise people how much need there is in every community, even where you would least expect it.”

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