Diane Marshall gave me an eye-opening tour of the Christmas Cheer operation in Sault Ste. Marie today. For those who don’t know, Christmas Cheer provides food and gifts for needy families in the Sault area each Christmas, with the cash it requires coming from the Sault Star Santa Fund.

I couldn’t believe the care taken to make sure each basket includes only quality, working toys and matches the wishes of the children. It’s more of a “value-added” operation than merely sorting things into the appropriate piles. But even the sorting itself is a monumental job. And whatever can’t be used by Christmas Cheer is passed along to a social agency that might find it useful.

Dozens of volunteers repair, clean, sort, match, package. I was struck by both how hard-working they all are, how much thoughfulness they bring to the job and how much fun they seem to be having. I think some of their happiness ends up packed in each Christmas Cheer box and passed along to those families who get this little boost at the holiday season.