Twas the night before Christmas…… and once again we have the joy of a season of giving

May this season’s joy bless each and every one.

Lynn Lake, a small town of less than a thousand people more than 1000 km north of Winnipeg and northwest of Thompson, Manitoba. Home to the Mathias Columb First Nations Peoples. A little town established in the 1950s after Nickel ore was discovered. Soon after, gold was found and the town flourished. But, less than three decades later, the mines were not productive enough to keep operating, and the community has faced challenges since. As with most of Canada’s northern isolated communities, people are hardworking, make the best of what they have, and share with each other.

The people of Creston treasure our lifestyle. We treasure the easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables and our climate. Easy enough to forget that we are a very lucky group of people. In Lynn Lake, the average summer season lasts from May 22 to September 12 and even then, the highs do not top 73 degrees Fahrenheit. The area is covered by clouds more then 6 months of the year and cold season is cold by anyone’s standards. Not much grows with short growing seasons like they have. They would be in awe of our local Farmers Markets with all our lovely, locally grown produce. We are so fortunate, aren’t we?

A few years ago, a donation of apples went to Lynn Lake and was joyfully received. In keeping in touch with the Lynn Lake Friendship Centre, we realized that Lynn Lake could use a little something special for their children.

Once again, we put our idea out to the community here. And again, people of all ages, from all areas gave. From Yahk to Riondel and beyond, people thought of those other children and donated. With the number of 300 in our minds, old friends and new friends came together to sort, pack and stack boxes (given so nicely to us by Overwaitea Food and Drugs) onto pallets. Our own Creston Parcel, under the management of Tyler Hills generously donated storage space for our packed boxes. Two huge pallets, full to the top of boxes of clothes, Barbies, games, puzzles, sports equipment, books, and crafts. And clothes; beautiful clothes. Our local Marks donated along with people from all walks of life.

Exquisite handmade quilts, eleven of them were donated by Gail Mason and her friends at Quilts For Kids. Hats of all colours and sizes were knitted by Hildegard Mercredi. Puppets, creative, ingenious puppets were donated by her friend – Juhle Ladner. More toques, mitts, and sweaters were knitted and donated by friends of Ian and April Cotton. We all know we have talented people in our valley, but the beauty in both the craft and the giving still touches our hearts and makes us grateful for each other.

We could not be happier to receive donations and gifts all year long, it made our Christmas season a twelve month one.

Shukins Orchards, once again, stepped up to care for the people with their donation of a full pallet, three-quarters of a tonne of apples; enough for everyone. Creston’s own – flawless, fresh and healthy. Something we cannot fathom being without, but considered a luxury elsewhere in our own county. Who knew? We forget and take for granted the hard work done for us by our neighbours, Creston’s Orchardists.

How to ship? We had to try to get our 3 pallets all the way from Creston to way up north in Manitoba, more than 2,200 km away?

We asked and our local Columbia Brewery answered. Once again and without question. Scott Stokes, General Manager quickly responded with support and graciousness. Take up room in one of their delivery trucks, over 2000 lbs on three pallets? Not a worry for them. Under the guidance of Lisa Harrison, it will happen. To surprise children and their parents somewhere far away with a gift. Creston Parcel picked our pallets up and drove to Shukins and got that beautiful, generous donation of apples and then carried it all to the Brewery. Once there, our local Brewery staff stored, then loaded up our pallets for the 2000 kilometer trip.

Off to Winnipeg, the truck went to meet another shipping company with our gifts. Bless that transport company Gardewine and Jim Sinclair who make it a practice to give what they can to any community in need on their trucking routes and beyond. For eight years now, Gardewine has supported our Christmas by Creston Project without question and without knowing any of us. Just to help children. To make the joy of the season a reality for others. With the help of Creston Parcel, Columbia Brewery, and Gardewine, far-reaching hugs went out halfway across the country.

At this time as we tiptoe through the house on Christmas Eve, we must be grateful for our good fortunes. For our family, for our friends, for people who care, for good neighbours and the warmth of knowing that each of us really matters to someone else. To be able to live here.

May this season’s joy bless each and every one. Merry Christmas.

Submitted by Muriel Buhr

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