Victoria Menard, a New Brunswicker, knows that not all families in the Greater Moncton area can afford to decorate the hallways during the holiday season, so she is doing what she can to help.
The 20-year-old is a part-time employee in a hardware store and a full-time student in criminology at the Université de Moncton.
But she still found time to set up four donation boxes at Home Hardware stores in Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe to collect used and new decorations.
Menard says not every family can afford to decorate their homes.
“They have other priorities and I just wanted to make Christmas a little happier back home,” she says. “Families need more and more, especially this year with everything going up in price, it’s harder for families to be able to afford Christmas decorations.”
Donations will go to Moncton Headstart, a non-profit organization for at-risk children and their families.
Ornaments, lights, trinkets and wreaths will be available at the organization’s annual Toyland event next month.
Moncton Headstart’s director of children’s programs said the organization loves the idea.
“When this young lady approached us and asked if there was a need for decorations, we kind of said, ‘Yeah, you know there really is,'” says Shawnda Farquhar. “And when she asked, we just couldn’t say no because it’s an expense, if you want to go buy a nice decoration it can cost anywhere from $20 to $100.
Ménard’s Christmas wish was also accepted with open arms by the owners, managers and staff of the four Home Hardware stores.
Jeff Irving is the assistant manager at the Elmwood Drive location and says it’s a pleasure to be around Menard.
“Every time she’s here, every time you see her, she’s smiling. She’s happy, she loves her job and she obviously loves people because of what she does. I think that’s a fantastic initiative,” he said.
Ménard got into the habit of helping.
Last Christmas, she set up a box at the Home Hardware store in Riverview to collect yarn so seniors could knit hats and mittens for the town’s Boys and Girls Club.
She also collected over 200 dog blankets from an animal shelter when she was 17.
“I was always taught to volunteer,” Ménard said. “I and my mom would go volunteer with her at her job and it was always a treat to see the faces of the people I volunteered for.”
The boxes will be on the front of four hardware stores in the Greater Moncton area until the end of the first week of December.