Charity where one might not expect to find it

Tyler Clarke
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Although one might not expect charity among teenagers who’ve had run-ins with the law, that’s exactly what’s happened.


Making his annual round throughout Prince Albert collecting donations for the annual Christmas hamper program he organizes, Jerry Jarvis picked up a $500 cheque from the Prince Albert Youth Residence on Thursday.

“This is not a donation from the staff or the ministry of correction and public safety,” centre director Chris Lyons explained.

“This was a donation agreed by the youth themselves to donate the money they earned.”

Since youth can’t be named or pictured in the media, Lyons explained the youths’ charitable donation.

“When I put the question to the kids this year, and they actually agreed to up their contribution,” he said. “Last year they agreed to $200, and this year was $500. There’s a certain amount of empathy among this group.”

Youth residents picked the Christmas hamper donation over things like video games and other such activities, he explained, noting that the money the donated came from various work efforts, such as filling sandbags.

Jarvis’s stop at the Prince Albert Youth Residence was one of many taken throughout the afternoon on Thursday -- a trip the Daily Herald was able to join him on making.

The first stop was Kleen Bee, a janitorial supplies company that Jarvis credits with donating $1,000 without any prompting.

“When we heard about it we wanted to get on board and help some people out, and spread some Christmas cheer,” company owner Robert Georget said, matter-of-factly.

The second stop was the Prince Albert Correctional Centre, where corrections worker Paul Miller handed Jarvis a cheque for $1,050.

Staff at the Prince Albert Correctional Centre, Community Training Residence and Pinegrove Correctional Centre raised the money through raffle ticket sales for 15 turkeys that Sobeys donated.

The people who receive the Christmas hampers are “are single mother families, single father families, new to the city families that would otherwise not have a Christmas without this,” Miller said, explaining correctional workers’ motivation to help out.

This is going to make 40 or 50 families’ Christmas a little happier. Jerry Jarvis

Jarvis’ next stop was the Community Training Residence – a halfway house that donated $500 out of a group account that goes toward luxuries like pool tables and televisions.

“The guys enjoy that it goes to kids and needy families,” director Dwayne Mills said. “A lot of the guys have never done anything like that -- done a donation to people in need.”

After stopping by the Prince Albert Youth Residence, Jarvis’s final stop of the day was Sobeys, where general manager Kurt Harriman ceremonially handed over a handful of gift carts.

As part of the vendor-driven Time for Sharing program, Harriman didn’t have a total donation amount on Thursday. Last year, Sobeys donated $2,750.

Satisfied with the day’s collection of cheques, totaling more than $2,000 so far, Jarvis said that this year’s 15th annual effort is likely to produce between 40 and 50 hampers.

“This is going to make 40 or 50 families’ Christmas a little happier,” he said. “You’ve got your turkey, you’ve got your ham, your homemade pie, all your veggies, potatoes, turnip, carrot, eggs milk. It’s probably enough for some families for four or five days.”

Volunteers from St. Paul's Presbyterian Church at faculty from Riverside Community School will prepare the hampers later this month and deliver them to families on Dec. 19.

The group’s only limitations have to do with the amount of money they’re able to raise each year, Jarvis said. 

“The need is there, for one thing … Unfortunately, the need will always be there, and it seems to get greater every year.

Organizations: Prince Albert, Sobeys, Daily Herald Time Presbyterian Church Riverside Community School

Geographic location: St. Paul

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