Some 1,416 Saanich locals have a new pair of thick red socks to keep their toes warm this Christmas thanks to the Saanich Parks, Recreation and Community Services elf.
Mena Westhaver is Saanich’s Christmas elf as well as the community recreation programmer who helps residents facing financial barriers accessing recreation services. Westhaver applied to Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart charity in October for socks to donate to students at Tillicum Elementary School. But the charity exceeded her expectations.
Jumpstart asked Westhaver if she wanted more socks than she had asked for, so she said yes. “We didn’t have an ETA, so we didn’t know when they were coming in and the crate arrived while I was out of the office, so I walked in on Tuesday and there were boxes and boxes of socks – 1,416 pairs in total,” Westhaver said. She only worked a few days that week and didn’t know if she could pull off delivering all the socks by Christmas, but she was determined.
The elf completed her goal, delivering warm socks to Aberdeen Hospital, Anawin Compassion Society, Colquitz Middle School, the Cridge Childcare Services, Artemis Place Secondary School, the seniors’ drop-in at Pearkes Recreation Centre, Saanich Neighbourhood Place, École Marigold School, Silver Threads Society, Spectrum Community School, St. Joseph’s Church, Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Tillicum Elementary School, the Victoria General Hospital pediatric unit and general medicine, the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Victoria Women’s Transition Home, Viewmont Retirement House, and all Saanich teen centres.
“It was so moving,” Westhaver said. “This elf went from smiling to crying multiple times a day.” She said many people who received the socks, including students from Tillicum, sent her photos of them wearing the socks after they were dropped off.
“A huge thank you to Jumpstart for pulling this off before Christmas, I wasn’t expecting that,” Westhaver said.
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