The numbers were up. The money was down. And the community came through!

If you look in this issue you'll see the kindly-donated Advance space for our Christmas Cheer Thank You ad. If you look in the background you'll see literally hundreds of names... people, companies, donors, volunteers, the people who make Christmas Cheer happen in this community.

On Friday afternoon we were hovering at the $130,000 mark. Advance readers responded generously with cash and cheques. People dropped by Peter Moore's donated space at 364 St Vincent St... they brought coins, bills, cheques, food, toys. They shucked their coats, rolled up their sleeves and pitched in to package fresh fruit, load toy bags, and prepare Christmas hampers.

Volunteers manned the phone lines. Dana Quinto and Jen Doering set up a canteen to feed the volunteers.

Our website was humming with online donations and when we did a tally on Friday afternoon, our coffers were hovering at the $130,000 mark. And then, Doug Bingley, Helen Mathers, Deb James, Tim Weston of Rock 95/Kool FM all called to say they had a Christmas gift for Christmas Cheer... a cheque for $38,000... Their Freezin for the Season fundraisers, their toy drives, their community projects were fruitful and the Rock/Kool folks generously shared it with Christmas Cheer.

That put Christmas Cheer to its $170,000 goal! And then Barrie residents did the rest... your generosity helped take care of our extra 274 families who applied over and above our budget.

I wish that each of you who is a faithful reader could have been perched like a mouse in the corner as people made exclamations like "Barrie has this resilient spirit!" and "Barrie people are generous to the core" and "I knew the people in this community could and would do it!" On and on. This does so much for our community self esteem, as well as for the souls of everyone involved, whether giving or receiving.

This IS a wonderful place. We all know why. It's hard to put on the Barrie signs on Highway 400 but it's in our souls. And we know it.

Merry Christmas.

And, thanks!

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