Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac residents are rounding up some Christmas cheer as they gather festive decorations, trees, ornaments, stuffed animals and more for victims of the devastating flood back in April.
“All the flood victims, well, most of them lost their Christmas decorations because they were all in the basement, so she said it would be nice if we could try to gather some Christmas decorations,” said Annie Laferrière, one of the organizers behind Opération Magie de Noël.
“After the flood, everybody started to forget but I was still following that group page,” said Laferrière. “I saw it’s not over; I mean a lot of them haven’t gotten any funds yet.”
Over 1,450 properties were flooded because of a dike breach forcing 6,000 residents out of their homes.
With Christmastime rolling around, a few friends thought they could spread the Christmas magic by helping members of their community with donations.
“Christmas is all about this. It’s about ending the year not the way it started,” said Elizabeth Leroux.
Through the power of social media, their idea became a reality.
Within two weeks they gathered hundred and thousands of decorations for the families who lost it all.
“The first post just went viral because we shared it on our Facebook group and it reached 52,000 people,” said Elizabeth Leroux, another member of Opération Magie de Noël.
Upon looking for space to store the donations, Laferrière reached out to Extreme Evolution, a local gym in the area that graciously offered to lend their rooms for storage space.
They said the support has been flooding in as members of Unifor Québec decided to purchase $4,000 worth of Christmas decorations to donate to the cause.
“I can’t wait for Sunday, I’m hoping it will bring a little bit of magic for Christmas to their lives,” said Laferrière.
Laferrière’s children Justin and Mégane Levert have also been dedicating their weekends to helping their mother move boxes and gather donations.
“Well, I know the little children are going to be happy with this,” said Mégane Levert. “I feel like my mom is really great for doing this and all the stuff that we get, it’s incredible.”
The group is hoping their efforts will fill the residents’ hearts with Christmas joy.
“It’s about sharing, it’s about helping others,” said Leroux. “The sense of community, it’s really amazing — people are coming out here with two, three boxes, arms full.”
Opération Magie de Noël will be setting up shop from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. in one of the rooms at Extreme Evolution gym in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac on Dec. 1.
“We’re going to put Christmas music and we’re going to put our Santa hats and we want it to be festive for them,” said Laferrière.
— With files from Global’s Annabelle Olivier
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