PORT HAWKESBURY: Charitable efforts in local communities figure prominently in making the holidays happy for families in need, and Seasonal Services is leading the way in the Strait area.

For more than 40 years, the charitable volunteer group has been making Christmas brighter for local families by way of delivering food and gifts to those who need it most.

Members Joanne MacDonald and Joe Praught have been involved since the beginning, helping to organize a team of six core volunteers, with an additional 30 to 40 people helping in different capacities once the work ramps up.

Sandra Praught, another main organizer, says the recruitment process is an easy task.

“Most people come forward on their own. I feel we are very lucky that way.”

Planning for the season starts at the beginning of November for the Christmas season. The group reaches out for donations from local businesses and the community, and identifies those in need. The list of recipients is then organized to facilitate distribution and delivery, which usually takes place the last Sunday before Christmas.

Families in the groups Port Hawkesbury/Port Hastings catchment area are thankful for the community’s generosity, and for the discretion shown to those who benefit.

“We try to use the core group as much as we can to protect the identity of those that are in need,” says Praught.

With the need for support in the community greater than ever during the holidays, Seasonal Services has made a significant impact in alleviating some challenges for local families.

Praught says that over the years the need has grown, but so has the support for their work.

“As the families in need got bigger, the work increased. No one ever complains. We are just happy to give Christmas dinner to those in need.”