The recently launched Santa for Nova Scotia Veterans embodies a dash of everything Christmas is about: being with friends and family, giving back to those around you and spreading a little holiday cheer.
Launched by Mcpl. Leslie Blair, the project is focused on giving back to those who served their country and are either in need or are alone this holiday season by either providing gifts for their children or simply by just spending some time with them.
“Some of them are just looking forward to a visitor over Christmas and someone to talk to, others are overjoyed that we can provide gifts for their children, and some are in seniors homes across our province. We try our best to individualized the experience by accommodating the veterans’ needs and also their comfort level. Many of these incredible people served our country for years and are now fighting personal battles of their own,” said Blair, who was able to start Santa for Nova Scotia Veterans with the help of 12 Wing Shearwater CWO Michael Whitman.
Blair used social media to get the word out and has since received donations such as baskets, gifts for children and care packages from all across Nova Scotia.
“A young man from a Truro area reserve unit has been bending over backward to get donations, and his family (mother and sisters too) have even made cards and care packages for the veterans. It is beautiful to see how much the people of Canada care for their veterans,” said Blair.
Blair has been able to connect with veterans through the help of Legions, VETS Canada and veterans nominating other veterans.
Through the initiative, Santa for Nova Scotia Veterans so far has connected with ten families, ten single veterans, and veterans in nursing homes with representation from each of the Canadian Armed Forces’ elements.
“I only expect this to grow exponentially in the next few weeks. The donations have been non-stop, it is so nice to see. When I first launched the project, I envisioned that we would bring a gift to a veteran in need (or alone). It looks like we will be bringing numerous gifts to veterans in need (or alone) and to their families!! It is beautiful,” noted Blair.
Blair certainly hopes to keep the project going for years to come and perhaps even making it a nation-wide project one day.
“The project itself has been beautiful, and it warms my soul every time I check my email. I can think of no better way to enjoy the holidays than to help spread a little Christmas love to those who deserve it the most; my heart is at least six times bigger than it has ever been before,” said Blair.