For many people, Christmas is a time spent celebrating the joy of the season with family, friends and loved ones, but the reality for others is that the holiday season can also be a stressful time, leaving them feeling lonely, overwhelmed or worried about finances.
“With Tbaytel’s 12 Days initiative, our goal is simple,” explains Kathleen Jones, Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Communication at Tbaytel. “We want to be able to give back, not only to those who support Tbaytel year round, but also to people and organizations in the communities we serve by spreading a little bit of extra cheer throughout northwestern Ontario.”
First established in 2015, Tbaytel’s 12 Days of Christmas program recognizes deserving non-profit organizations and members of the communities Tbaytel serves with a series of exciting daily surprises spread out over the course of 12 days.
From random acts of kindness like bagging groceries or pouring coffee, to hosting events in schools and giving away gifts to help make the burden of holiday spending a little lighter, planned Christmas activities give Tbaytel employees the opportunity to volunteer their time and meet members of their community outside of their typical work setting.
For 2018, Tbaytel’s 12 Days of Christmas included the following surprises:
Day 1: Handed out gift cards, mittens and hot chocolate to spectators at the Thunder Bay Parade of Lights.
Day 2: Sponsored the Dryden GM Ice Dogs hockey game and gave away cowbells, gloves and gift cards to spectators with help from Oshtugon staff.
Day 3: Made a donation to the Salvation Army Food Bank in Kenora.
Day 4: Worked as baristas with Sight & Sound AVU employees and paid for customers’ drinks at From the Grind Up; made a donation to the Family Centre Food Bank; and gave away grocery store gift cards for The Place in Fort Frances.
Day 5: Shopped for, packed and delivered 50 backpacks to donate to St. Paul’s Children’s Ministries’ Christmas Backpack Project for Dennis Franklin Cromarty School students.
Day 6: Prepared and served a hot meal for clients at Shelter House Thunder Bay.
Day 7: Held a Christmas carnival for Sherbrooke School students with bingo, a pizza lunch and gingerbread decorating.
Day 8: Purchased Christmas trees for Sandpiper Tree Farm patrons.
Day 9: Treated members of the 55 Plus Centre in Thunder Bay to Magnus Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol.
Day 10: Sponsored and served a hot meal and gave out warm winter clothing through the Salvation Army’s soup van outreach program.
Day 11: Rode on Thunder Bay Transit’s Santa bus to give away gift cards, candy canes and spread Christmas cheer to commuters along their morning route and threw a second Christmas Carnival, this time for St. Vincent School.
Day 12: Threw a second Christmas Carnival, this time for St. Vincent School and supported other local businesses by handing out Market Bucks and reusable shopping bags for shoppers at the Thunder Bay Country Market.
Another unique component of the 12 Days program makes it easy for lucky participants to pay it forward by finding one of 12 reindeer placed at different locations across Thunder Bay and in other northwestern Ontario communities. Once found, each reindeer comes with instructions on how to choose a deserving charity, to which Tbaytel will then make a donation in the finder’s name.
Charities of choice for the 2018 program included George Jeffrey Children’s Foundation, Caring Hearts Cat Rescue & Sanctuary, United Native Friendship Centre and Thunder Bay & District Humane Society.
“It’s always so humbling to see how the simplest of gestures can make someone’s day, or even their week, when they least expect it but may need it most,” says Jones. “Each of Tbaytel’s 12 Days of Christmas serves as a perfect reminder to slow down during the holiday season to appreciate what bringing joy to others really means, even if just for a day.”
To learn more about Tbaytel’s 12 Days of Christmas, visit tbaytel.net/12days.