Cape Bretoners donate decorations to give flood victims a merry Christmas
Published Wednesday, November 30, 2016 2:51PM AST
Cape Bretoners are helping those hardest hit by the Thanksgiving Day flood have a merrier Christmas by donating decorations to flood victims who lost theirs.
Sydney resident Blair Melanson organizes a dazzling light show choreographed to Christmas music, drawing crowds to his house every year.
Melanson lives in the city’s flood zone, and while his Christmas decorations were stored safely in his garage, he lost nearly everything in his basement in the flood.
With his family dealing with flood damage, and his wife’s health as she recovers from a stroke she suffered in May, Melanson says he wasn’t sure he had it in him to decorate this year.
“She said to me, ‘Blair, go ahead and do the display. Put it out.’ I wasn’t going to,” said Melanson. “I was humming and hawing about it, but she said, ‘No, do it,’ so I said ‘Ok, I’ll do it.’”
While Melanson didn’t lose his beloved decorations, many flood victims did, so the community set to work, collecting donations of decorations for Giving Tuesday.
“One single mother talked about the children, wondering if Santa was going to find them, because now they’re in an apartment on a temporary basis,” said Lynne McCarron, executive director of the Cape Breton United Way.
“Right now they have so much on their plate,” said Mary Arsenault, who donated some items. “With the generosity of Cape Bretoners, hopefully everybody will give a little something and they can have at least a Christmas.”
The decorations will be handed out on Thursday. Anyone who is registered through the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s Help Line is eligible.
“Christmas lights, ornaments, outside lights, anything that you would think that would be typically stored in a basement,” said McCarron. “It’s always better to give than to receive, and it feels good to give to people you know are really going to need it.”
While he was a victim of the flood himself, Melanson says he plans to donate some of his own Christmas items.
“It’s a great idea,” he said. “It’s going to help someone get a little more cheer into their Christmas.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald