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Offering Santa a helping hand: Hants County Christmas Angels telethon fast approaching

Melanie Skelhorn, the program co-ordinator for the 2018 Hants County Christmas Angels, shows off the sou’wester, which is auctioned off each year, and the painting by Liz Robinson, that will be going home with the winner.
Melanie Skelhorn, the program co-ordinator for the 2018 Hants County Christmas Angels, shows off the sou’wester, which is auctioned off each year, and the painting by Liz Robinson, that will be going home with the winner. - Contributed

WINDSOR, N.S. — This year’s Hants County Christmas Angels program co-ordinator is determined to keep the magic of Christmastime alive and well.

Melanie Skelhorn took over the role in September and has been working hard alongside volunteers to get the popular fundraising telethon ready for the air.

The show, which is filmed live at the Hants County War Memorial Community Centre in Windsor, takes place Dec. 2 from noon until 8 p.m.

It’s aired on Eastlink’s Channel 10 and broadcast over 89.3 K-Rock, and new this year, it will be available via NS Live.TV.

“There will be a link on our website — ChristmasAngels.ca — where you can view the show online, you can share it through Facebook and with your friends and your family. If they are away, they can watch the show and see the talent; they can call in and pledge, if they wish to. That’s a big thing for us this year. We’re pretty excited to be able to live stream,” said Skelhorn.

And having a live audience is always appreciated, she said.

“They can definitely come and watch live. The kids really like having an audience.”

The show is jam-packed with talent, with many returning acts and a few new faces. Quick As A Wink Theatre will be among the new guests that will be performing.

Kids at the heart of the show

Skelhorn, who is a community home visitor with the Family Resource Centre of West Hants, said volunteering to help plan the show this year meshed well with her desire to give back to the community.

“I work with youth and children and families so I felt that this was a good fit for me to be able to do something that directly affected them,” said Skelhorn.

She said there is a general perception that the Christmas Angels telethon is only for low-income families. She said this isn’t the case. The face of those requiring a little extra assistance is changing.

“I think that some people are under the impression that it’s always lower income families or those who don’t have the supports. But, the growing need is working families now... It’s about even,” said Skelhorn.

“You can’t really judge who needs the help at Christmastime so that’s why we’re very open to applications. Everybody’s situation is different.”

And what the families are looking for aren’t expensive presents, she said.

“They’re asking for very simple things — so it’s dolls, accessories, mittens, hats, winter boots, snowsuits. They’re not looking for lavish items.”

Along with toys, clothing and necessities, Christmas Angels also helps to provide a traditional Christmas dinner to the families.

Last year, they had a banner year in terms of funds raised to help the community. They brought in a little more than $45,000.

“It would be amazing if we could top that but our goal is to be at least $40,000,” said Skelhorn.

“We have 370 children registered currently and that number is still growing because I’m still getting applications.”

The coveted Garth Vaughan Memorial Sou’wester will once again be auctioned off, and the highest bidder will also receive an original painting by Liz Robinson entitled Peggy’s Fury.

There will be a Tree of Hope set up at various locations throughout Hants County, each one listing a child and a present they would like to receive. A toy drive is also being held, where people are invited to drop off new, unwrapped presents at the Kent store in Windsor or at Hants West MLA Chuck Porter’s office, until Dec. 4

Skelhorn said she hopes people will donate as much as they can this year in order to help spread joy and magic at Christmastime.

“It’s important to keep the spirit of Christmas (alive),” said Skelhorn.

“Essentially, everybody is Santa Claus when we come together as a community. We’re providing that magic for children in the morning. It’s just helping them feel like they have someone in their corner.”

To learn more about Christmas Angels or how to help, visit: http://christmasangels.ca.

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