Sharing the holiday spirit

Nurse Next Door Vernon collects necessities for Transition House and local shelters

Cathy Bilton (left) and Connie Burt with some of the items they’ve collected for local shelters.

Cathy Bilton (left) and Connie Burt with some of the items they’ve collected for local shelters.

For many families, the holiday season is filled with joy. It’s difficult to imagine children going without gifts or not enjoying the smell of turkey on Christmas Day, but the reality is such that many people find themselves without even the most basic of necessities during this emotionally charged time of year.

A Nurse Next Door employee has spearheaded the collection of emergency bags for those that find themselves safe but without anything at all.

“I do this every year,” said Connie Burt.

This year, she asked her employer if they would commit to gathering personal items for the much-needed bags.

“We hire people who are wired to give, not only in their work lives, but also to the community at large,” said local Nurse Next Door owner Cathy Bilton. “Connie reminded us of the spirit of Christmas giving and we jumped onboard.”

What started out as a goal of putting together 20 bags turned into more than 60 bags that will be dropped off at the RCMP for distribution to Vernon Women’s Transition House and shelters. The bags include everything from toothpaste and brush, socks underwear, soap and deodorant to a small toy and some candy for the children.

“People show up with nothing and a little gift with personal items is reassuring,” said Burt. “There’s an increased demand over the holidays unfortunately.

“Our employees contributed items and along with local businesses including McDonald’s, Tim Hortons, A&W, Dr. Brian Clark and Dr. Brian Bicknell, we have put together a Santa bag of a different sort.”

Items for donation can be dropped off at the RCMP and will be distributed according to need.