170 charities benefit from generosity

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A local woman who committed to donating to 150 charities in 2017 surpassed her goal by the end of the year.

Linda Curtis made a pledge in January to donate to 150 different organizations in honour of Canada’s sesquicentennial year. She met her goal by October, but kept working to bring some Christmas cheer to places like the Dream Centre in Calgary and with the Magic of Christmas.

“I usually do a big project for them (Magic of Christmas),” said Curtis. “This year it was making 150 angels, and that was all various kinds of angels. I was a little angeled-out at the end – that was a lot of angels.”

Most of her donations were hand made – this was one of Curtis’ rules when she set out on her quest. She was not allowed to donate any cash, items had to be handcrafted or assembled personally. Everything was delivered in-person and every donation was heartfelt.

Some acts were smaller than others, such as putting food into the Little Free Pantry erected by Westmount School students in the spring, or providing bookmarks to the library.

Others were not able to be delivered personally, but were still sent from the heart, such as sending handmade baby dolls wrapped in blankets to children in Gana through local woman Heather Van Aalst’s organization, Aku’s Place.

“She went over there to adopt a baby and couldn’t because of red tape, but she fell in love with all the kids there so she built a rec centre for these kids,” said Curtis. “Twice a year she sends over a container of all kinds of stuff like bikes, sewing machines, computers, things she’s collected. So, I like to add something.”

She has also contributed items to orphans in Belize, where Narrow Road Home, based in High River, is working to open a home for girls in conjunction with the local orphanages.

A trip to Vancouver saw her deliver packages to the homeless in the city’s east end in person, where Curtis also gave a homeless woman her umbrella.

One of her favourites though, is something she’s done from year to year. Curtis made and filled 32 stockings for children at Brenda’s House, a shelter for homeless families.

“They hide them until Christmas Eve then hang them on doors, and the kids come out in the morning and Santa’s left a stocking for them,” said Curtis. “I think it’s one of my favourite ones.”

She has also filled baskets with small items to leave in women’s shelters, filled with things like small toys, books, journals, toothpaste, anything she collects during her shopping trips or errands. The basket is available for women to take whatever appeals to them or anything they need as they come and go, said Curtis.

At the end of a year of giving, she is still energized by her efforts and said she’ll continue to make things for organizations and charities. It’s never hard to find places to give, said Curtis.

“There were more that I could have done,” she said. “It’s just so nice to be able to make someone’s day with a small gift that comes from the heart.”

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