LITTLE CURRENT – It started out as just a kernel of an idea, but once that seed was planted, Orr’s Valumart owner Andrew Orr watched in amazement as that seed blossomed into a Christmas miracle.

As businesses from across the community came out to support the Christmas fundraising effort, volunteers were kept busy collecting donations of food, clothing and cash.

Mr. Orr and his staff got busy reaching out to local area businesses and organizations, pulling the event together in record time.

“Its amazing how much progress we can make when local businesses come together to support a great cause like Manitoulin Family Resources,” said Mr. Orr following the event. “Thank you to everyone who supported the event and participated on short notice. We have already started planning next year’s event to be bigger and better.”

Despite the relatively short turnaround time, this year’s event raised a whopping $3,770 over the course of the afternoon and also collected two truckloads of food, warm clothing and toys for Manitoulin Family Resources.

Although the event was promoted as a barbecue, many folks just ponied up their holiday cash.

“Some people just handed us money and didn’t even take a hotdog,” said volunteer Rick McCutcheon as he helped man the barbecue alongside OPP Community Services officer Constable Tessa Kasch. CSO Kasch said that she was very pleased to be part of the effort and delighted to see the community spirit being demonstrated at the event.

“Just helping out a bit,” said Given Cortez, owner of Willow’s Haven Massage Therapy Clinic in Little Current as he assisted Mr. Orr in heaving large bags filled with donations into the back of a truck filled nearly to the brim.

COVID-19 protocols were in full evidence during the event. Essential businesses such as Orr’s Valumart have been operating on the front lines since the very start of the pandemic and Mr. Orr had high praise for the efforts being made by his staff and customers to help keep everyone as safe as possible.

Although Christmas is the time of year when people are accustomed to opening their hearts, and wallets, to help those less fortunate the need does not disappear with the holly wreaths. The months of January and February can be challenging times for many families and donations to Manitoulin Family Resources continue to be gratefully received.