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Listen to CJNU during the holidays season for memories of Christmas past. Photo by Karosieben.
CJNU star trekkers give back D
uring CJNU’s annual pledge drive, Oct. 23 to Oct. 25, I was on air with CJNU personalities Don Milne, Chad Cawson and Dorothy Dob-
bie. In a weak moment, I made a challenge and pledge. “If we raise over $500 during my guest host shift, I will walk down Portage Avenue handing out CJNU infor- mation.”
Ross Thompson Looking Back
asked whether the trek would take me “all the way to Vancouver”, and my quick response was that the walk would take us from Portage and Main to the west perimeter. In a two- hour period, our listeners pledged over $1,200. Gulp! My wife Lynne suggested we multi-task the Portage perambulation by collect- ing items to hand out to the less fortunate encountered
en route. Well, from that point on, things snowballed quickly!
Five of our own volunteers offered to step out Nov.
7, and the response from individuals and businesses was overwhelming! Pure cash from supporters totalled over $250, and business ventures like the Red Apple store in Stonewall, the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Victoria Inn, do- nated several items for our “We-Care” bags. In short order we had 22 bags to hand out, each with a
value of over $20! Items included scarves, gloves, toques, washcloths, juice, toothpaste, gum, soap, shampoo, con-
CJNU’s Star Trekkers, from left to right: Walter Badger; Don Milne; Christie Donaldson; Ross Thompson; Chris Thompson.
ditioner, tissues, cleansing wipes, combs, energy bars, chocolate, handkerchiefs, socks, neck warmers and lip balm.
One woman drove to Stonewall, and donated 18 in- dividually packaged gift bags with soap and washcloths from her boutique. She told me the best way to lift her spirits is to extend help to others, donating "what I can." She said she would join the walk next year and "let's get 100 bags!!" Gulp again.
It was a bonus day for early November, with a high of 5 C and a cooling breeze from the southwest. Christie Donaldson, CJNU’s creative and production co-ordina-
Tuesday and Thursday 8:00 - 9:00 pm
ʺAs we dispensed our ʻwe careʼ bags, it physically lightened our load, and hopefully lightened the loads of those less fortunate... In less than an hour we were out of bags.ʺ
tor suggested we deviate from our route plan, venturing north and east to Higgins Avenue, instead of immedi- ately heading west on Portage. In less than one hour, we were out of bags. Of course that was good news for the “project”, but also bad news, demonstrating so much need in downtown Winnipeg and elsewhere. I am sure this added at least three miles to our 10-mile journey, but it was worth it.
In all cases, we were genuinely thanked. It was very touching to see the recipients peering into the packed bags to see what we hoped were treasures for them. “It reminded me of Christmas stockings,” one volunteer of- fered.
Along the way, CJNU got some profile as well: ev- erything from cars honking in support to “who ARE you guys?” I stopped in at Hull’s book store on Portage to hand out CJNU bookmarks. “Thank YOU. I listen to your station all the time,” the manager said. (Note to self: “Visit again with a CJNU membership applica- tion!”)
Charles Dickens wrote: “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” As we dispensed bags, it physically lightened our load, at the same time hopefully lightening the loads of those less fortunate. With much support and good wishes from everyone
aware of CJNU’s outreach, and the good feelings experi- enced by this year’s trekkers (in spite of sore muscles and shin splints), we can easily double next year’s efforts, if they are needed. To quote Martin Luther King, as sung by Elvis, “If I can dream…” Ross Thompson, a former fish and wildlife biologist with the Manitoba government, is past president of CJNU and a member of its board.
Sharing a precious gift – our time – at Christmas This will be a Christmas to remember for all of us, a mixed bag of people celebrating the season. Some are eager to see how Christmas is celebrated; we in turn honour their observances by sharing time in this way.
had a thought last year on my dear Aunt Chryse's 100th birthday when we were all assembled at the nursing home. A relative told me I had always been my aunt's favourite. I acknowledged that was true and said I had recently realized that the reason we two were close was that we gave one another the most precious gift we had. That gift was our time.
Opened up new worlds We spent a great deal of time together when I was growing up, and she in- troduced me to so many things that I love. Aunt Chryse instilled in
magical as we read parts of it together. She took me to the movies, and of-
ten we stood in frigid lines to see films like White Christmas at the old
Capitol on Portage Jim Pappas
me a love of books and reading. One of the first books she gave me was Rich- ard Halliburton’s book on marvels of the world. She made it seem even more
Avenue. We went to live concerts, even vaudeville shows at the Beacon on Main Street. She was one of the first subscribers to Theatre 77, at the behest of director John Hirsch. She bought me tickets, too, and that begat a life of love for live theatre, not to mention symphony and ballet and more. All of this was in the cornucopia of delights that she offered to me. I flour-
ished in this world, but what was so spe- cial was she was sharing her time with me.
From the age of 12, and well up into
my late 20s, I had a weekly date to be with her so we could enjoy one another's company. When I got married and had children she was still vital enough to do the same thing with my brood, and how they loved her for it. She spoke to them as she had spoken to me, as people who would one day become adults. She shared stories about our extended family which we might otherwise never have known. She could be serious or funny but was always a lady, filled with huge enthusiasm for life. Mostly, she was sharing her time with them; they knew that and, like me, loved her for it. That’s why, as Christmas season nears, I began to think that the greatest gift I can give my friends and family is to let my friends know how important it is to share their company. Some of our family will be away for Christmas, and my wife and I have invited several friends who don't have large family gatherings to join us at our table.
We have received a delightful response. This will be a Christmas to remember for all of us, a mixed bag of people all joined together
in celebration of the season.
Some of them do not observe Christmas and are thrilled to be included in our day. They are giving their time to see how Christmas is celebrated, and perhaps rec- ognize that we in turn are acknowledging their observances by sharing time togeth- er in this way. That truly is the spirit of the Christmas season.
Benefits for all
If you haven’t thought of a gift for cer- tain people, why not invite them to share Christmas with you, knowing in this there are benefits for you both to reap. In our family, knowledge of that kind is a gift from Aunt Chryse that keeps on giving: the knowledge that our time is the great- est thing we have to offer anyone and that this tends to work both ways.
James Pappas is a member of the CJNU board.
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