Celebrate the Joy of Giving Season by Helping Others
Wisteria Community Association has been celebrating an annual Christmas on the Street in Nanaimo, B.C., Canada, since 2017. Our volunteers strive to work in many ways by getting involved and making a positive difference in our community.
Christmas Celebrations (2017-2019)
In Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, we hosted our fourth annual Christmas on the Street. For months, an army of committed volunteers worked tirelessly to prepare the venue to locate generous donors and sponsors. They collected all donated food, cooked it, and served a hot Christmas supper to everybody in need. Meanwhile, some of Nanaimo's greatest musicians have gathered to contribute their talents to enhance the pleasure of everyone who has joined in this happy event.
The giving season continued for Nanaimo's homeless and low-income families until Boxing Day. Christmas on the Street staged on the alley driveway from Milton to Finlayson St. The volunteers provided a hot dinner and support to anybody in need. The event is managed by the same group that runs Stone Soup, which serves free dinners every night from a residence down the alley driveway. The event's organizer, Tanya Hiltz, said we aim to bring joy and smiles to the often tough holiday season.
The Nob Hill Community Association's second annual Christmas on the Street for 500 people was held Tuesday on Nicol Street. The goal was to feed the city's homeless and low-income residents dinner, gifts, and happiness.
People couldn't stop talking about how excellent the meal was and how much they appreciated the musical performance. The event planners handled even an unexpected site change. "Our backup plan was back to our grassroots, where we held the first one, under tents," said Doug Hiltz, a Nob Hill association member.
He expressed gratitude to the sponsors and contributors who made the event possible. Food was donated, and sound equipment and other logistical equipment that was needed to put on the event. The Nob Hill Community Association was also able to provide backpacks with products such as socks, hoodies, mitts, underwear, tuques, personal hygiene items, scarves, jewelry, makeup, and other necessities to those in need.
"Our slogan is helping community…" Hiltz said. We are a community group based out of the South end of town, but we will go anywhere to help."
Over 250 meals were prepared and distributed to those in need. The next day, 30 additional meals were delivered. It was a chilly, dark, stormy night, but love and commitment drew neighbors, friends, and families together in a wonderful gesture of charity and giving. There were tents. But it would have been challenging if the tarps were not there to keep the wind at bay. The environment was also made pleasant with a few high-powered industrial lights and a patio gas heater.
The place was Wisteria lane, which lies just inside the border of Nanaimo's Nob Hill neighborhood.
Tanya Hiltz, a dreamer and organizer came up with the idea and saw it through, with heavy lifting and logistic preparation provided by her husband Doug Hiltz and a nearby neighbor, Stathi Tsangaris. All three are members of the Nob Hill Community Association's Board of Directors, and Darren and Jennifer Kurucz are also present.
- 28 Turkeys
- Fresh salads
- 11 Hams
- Mashed potatoes
- Roasted vegetables
- Cranberry sauce (Yellow Point Cranberry Farm)
- Food Genie (lasagna & chicken pies)
- Coffee Regard coffee
- Cobb's bread
- Tim Hortons (Wallace) and juice
- McDonalds (Nicol Street)
- Desert table that rivaled Bellini's Feast of the Gods
The Certified Kitchen
Executive Director Lesley Clarke at the Women's Center offered the kitchen at Food Share on Pine Ave.
Lorraine, Ben, Marni, Myles, Dan, and all the Vault, Rod B. (cranberry sauce).
- Paradise Island
- Nicol Street Pawnbrokers
- V.I.P. Pawnbrokers
- Black Bear Pub
- Deep Blue Restaurant
- Bold Knight
- Calico Cat Tea House
- Longwood Brew Pub ($)
- Bocca Café
- Yours and Mine
- Re Max
- Patti's Party Place
- Triple T Party Place
- The West Side Dispensary
- Set-up and take-down from helpers in Nanaimo.
Rona (gifts for the homeless), Aladdin's, many friends from everywhere, and Linda R.
Paul Gogo and his troubadours offered folk-funky soulful holiday songs.
Mayor Bill McKay
People in need
Numerous volunteers helped to make the day super special.