The Niagara-on-the-Lake Santa Claus parade will be on December 10th this year. Like every non-pandemic year since 2002, NOTL Hydro staff will be in the parade with a modestly decorated truck and trailer. Some of the staff will be giving out candy but most will be collecting food and toy donations from people watching the parade.
We start collecting donations well before the parade. In fact, most of our donations are donated to our office prior to our parade. The process begins with an insert with your Hydro bill announcing the food and toy drive.
A box is set up in the NOTL Hydro building lobby. The lobby is separate from the office space so customers can come in and drop off any goods without having to come near anyone. If they prefer, they can drop the materials outside.
In the parade, the NOTL Hydro truck is one of the first vehicles. This way the spectators do not have to hang on to their donations for long. NOTL Hydro usually finishes the parade before Santa has started. Following the parade, we take the truck back to the office and load up all the material that has been donated into the trailer that already holds the donations from the parade.
All the food is taken to Newark Neighbours. They add it to the donations they already have to make the food packages they provide to those in need in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The recipients of toy donations have varied from year to year and has included Newark Neighbours, Gillians Place and Community Care. During the parade, some people make a cash donation. These are also given to Newark Neighbours.
The Niagara-on-the-Lake parade is always a lot of fun. It still very much has that small town vibe to it. Our former Director Bob Cheriton was heavily involved in its management including leading its preparation for many years. NOTL Hydro staff, for whom this is all volunteer time, will often be seen chatting to friends and acquaintances during the parade.
With the high inflation this could be a tough year for some people. I hope everyone can get out on the 10th of December and enjoy the parade and the community spirit. If you can bring a little extra to share with those less fortunate, that would be appreciated. There is no better feeling than having a lot to unload when we get to Newark Neighbours.