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Canning couple keep Angel Tree tradition alive at County Fair Mall in New Minas

Mike and Lynda Carter of Canning and Capt. Kelly Fifield of the Kentville Salvation Army with toy donations at the Angel Tree in the County Fair Mall in New Minas.
Mike and Lynda Carter of Canning and Capt. Kelly Fifield of the Kentville Salvation Army with toy donations at the Angel Tree in the County Fair Mall in New Minas. - Kirk Starratt

Toy, gift donations being collected in support of Salvation Army Christmas campaign

NEW MINAS, NS - They’ve been volunteering to look after the Angel Tree for many years but don’t see the significant time commitment as a sacrifice.

Every December, Mike and Lynda Carter of Canning can be found collecting donations beside the Angel Tree in the County Fair Mall in New Minas. This is the 27th year that the Angel Tree has been located there.

Mike was introduced to the initiative back when he was a board member with Family and Children’s Services. After the organization discontinued its involvement, the Carters didn’t want to see such a worthwhile cause fall by the wayside, so they decided to take it on. They approached the Salvation Army about distributing the gifts collected through the Angel Tree and a long-standing partnership was formed.

“This is our December project,” Mike said.

There is a significant time commitment involved, as the tree is up for approximately two weeks every December and the Carters spend almost every day during that time at the mall. This year, the tree will be up from Dec. 7 to 22. The Carters used to go on vacation to Florida in November and come home in time to look after the tree but now they wait until after Christmas to take their trip.

Mike and Lynda Carter of Canning and Capt. Kelly Fifield of the Kentville Salvation Army are pleased to see the Angel Tree’s paper bells and balls being replaced with angels.
Mike and Lynda Carter of Canning and Capt. Kelly Fifield of the Kentville Salvation Army are pleased to see the Angel Tree’s paper bells and balls being replaced with angels.

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However, the Carters don’t consider the time they’ve donated to the Angel Tree a sacrifice: they love doing it. Lynda said it’s all about making sure that children in need in Kings County have a nice Christmas. They picture the children’s eyes lighting up and the joy on their faces when they open the toys and other gifts.

“It’s so great to help others that are less fortunate in the area,” Lynda said. “We have faithful people who come every year and look for us at the Angel Tree.”

Mike points out that they’re collecting gift donations suitable for all children from babies to teenagers. Sometimes teenagers in need get lost in the shuffle so the Carters hope shoppers won’t forget them when buying gifts for the Angel Tree.

The Carters like the fact that so many people get their children involved in the efforts, making it an annual tradition. Lynda said it’s great to see young people appreciating the importance of giving.

Mike said they even had one little girl bring in her birthday money to donate last year.

The Carters also recognize that many donors are giving back for support they’ve received from the community at Christmas time in the past.

Grateful for support

Capt. Kelly Fifield of the Kentville Salvation Army said it’s exciting to have volunteers like the Carters who are so committed to helping them collect toys and gifts. Knowing that the Carters are working on their behalf relieves a lot of worry and Fifield said they are grateful that the couple is so devoted to following this calling.

“It’s incredible that we have two people that are willing to give so much of their time year after year,” she said. “Sadly, it’s not something we see a lot of anymore these days.”

Fifield said they had some toys and gifts left over from last Christmas in storage and although the donations keep coming in, they’re still a long way from meeting the demand for this year. They’ll be supporting approximately 550 children this Christmas and hampers start going out on Dec. 19. Fifield maintains strong faith that God will act through people and provide.

Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

Did you know?

  • The Angel Tree starts out covered with paper bells and balls that specify a boy or girl of a given age range and provides some gift suggestions, such as a toy or clothing.
  • A donor will take a bell or ball, go shopping for an appropriate gift and place it unwrapped under the tree.
  • The donor then puts his or her name on a paper angel that goes on the tree.
  • The Angel Tree is donated by Wood’s Christmas Trees, who have a lot by the Milne Court Petro Canada in New Minas, and County Fair Mall staff members set up the tree.
  • If the Carter’s aren’t able to be there, donors can leave gifts at the lotto booth just outside the NSLC store.

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