North Bay artist paints for 3 straight days to help give gifts this Christmas
NORTH BAY -- With Christmas right around the corner, a local artist stepped up to help ensure that every child has a gift under the tree and every family has a holiday meal on the table.
In support of the Children’s Aid Society Nipissing and Parry Sound’s annual Joy Project campaign, local visual artist Marianne Vander Dussen found a unique way to help raise awareness and donations.
“Every year we run a Christmas campaign called The Joy Project with the Children’s Aid Society and that’s where people in the community are able to be matched with a wish list of our children, youth and families,” explained executive assistant Brogan Snider.
“Marianne reached out because she had this wonderful idea about doing a paint-a-thon and we embraced it fully.”
Vander Dussen set-up at the Northgate Mall for three days straight, painting for approximately 10 hours each day in order to complete an oil painting from start-to-finish.
The plan is to either sell or auction off the final product and give 100 per cent of the proceeds back to the Children’s Aid Society.
Marianne Vander Dussen set-up at the Northgate Mall for three days straight, painting for approximately 10 hours each day in order to complete an oil painting from start to finish. Nov. 29/20 (Alana Pickrell/CTV News Northern Ontario)
“So far we’ve had about 65 sponsors come forward for children and families in our community,” said Vander Dussen.
“We’ve had some monetary donations come in, but I am hoping through the sale of this painting, we’ll be able to get at least a few thousand dollars converted into grocery cards so that we can ensure that families have enough money to get Christmas dinner this year.”
“I’ve been a big supporter of this project for the past few years and it actually gives me so much joy to be able to provide a Christmas gift for someone outside of my own family and to focus on the spirit of Christmas as opposed to the more consumer side of Christmas,” she adds.
The Joy Project is an annual campaign for the Children’s Aid Society. It is designed so that community members can sponsor a family or child in need with Christmas presents or monetary donations. Officials say they are about mid-way through the campaign this year.
“Last year we sponsored over 350 children, family and youth,” said Snider.
“Right now I think we’re about half way there, a little over half way there, so there’s still opportunity for people to sponsor if they’re interested in getting involved.”
Snider says this campaign is important every year, but with the challenging times that a lot of families are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important then ever this year with more people needing help.
“Pandemic or not, you know, Christmas is still happening and these children on Christmas morning deserve a little Christmas joy which is what we’re here to do. So every year it’s super special and important to bring that Santa Claus experience to all our children in care,” she adds.
During the three day paint-a-thon, which took place Wednesday through Friday, the Children’s Aid Society had a table set-up where people could gather more information, make donations or pick an ornament off the tree and go buy gifts for a children depending on their wants or needs.
The Joy Project is an annual campaign for the Children’s Aid Society. It is designed so that community members can sponsor a family or child in need with Christmas presents or monetary donations. Officials say they are about mid-way through the campaign this year. Nov. 29/20 (Alana Pickrell/CTV News Northern Ontario)
“Our workers nominate their most in need families, children and youth and then those families actually submit a hand written wish list and that wish list will include shoe sizes, clothing sizes an some of the interests of the children,” said Snider.
“Then those wish lists get matched with community sponsors. So they’ll actually get a personalized wish list and they can go out and shop for their matched children.”
Officials say that the live painting demonstration and the table with information really helped raise awareness.
“There have been a lot of interested people coming by,” said Vander Dussen.
“If they weren’t able to take a child or a family to sponsor, they’ve taken some information. We have some literature here about how they can be matched or make a monetary donation or even volunteer their time to help wrap gifts.”
Gifts that have been bought for donation must be unwrapped so that they can be paired appropriately.
Those interested in donating to The Joy Project and helping make sure that there are gifts under everyone’s tree this year can contact the Children’s Aid Society Nipissing & Parry Sound by email or phone.
Snider says it’s never too late to help Santa this year.
“We have children coming in and out of care up to Christmas day, so it’s never too late to reach out if you’re interested in sponsoring.”