Mykayla Head knows what it’s like to struggle at Christmas.
As a young child, she wasn’t just worried about whether or not there would be presents under the tree that year, but whether her and her family would have enough to eat over the holidays.
Though Head and her family’s conditions thankfully improved by the time she was 10 years old, memories of those early struggles have never quite left, inspiring an ongoing tradition of giving that’s now in its fourth consecutive year.
Since 2018, Head has operated an annual Christmas drive that’s seen her and other local volunteers fulfill in-need families’ Christmas wish lists for the holiday season. Kicking off with 17 families their inaugural year, A Christmas Miracle Drive has now grown to serve over 70 families each year. With two families from their original number managing to provide for themselves this holiday season, the 2021 drive is now set to serve 72 local families.
To date, the drive has assisted almost 200 families in need.
“You have no idea the difference it makes, helping somebody,” said Mykayla Head. “I’ve been that person who’s needed the help and received it. It makes such a huge difference.”
To ensure families of all ages and demographics in Newmarket, Georgina, Bradford, and surrounding areas have a stress and worry-free Christmas, volunteers collect new and gently used donations from members of the community that match what is on each family’s submitted wish list. Common items in need include gift cards, hygiene and self care items, toys, clothes, and stocking stuffers.
Once the items are in hand, volunteers package them up and deliver them to families who need a helping hand over the holidays.
This year’s recipients include 8 babies, 11 toddlers, 68 children, 34 teenagers, and 70 adults.
But the 2021 holiday season brings something a bit different for A Christmas Miracle Drive. For the first time, they’ve connected with Kits for a Cause, which allows people to donate online by purchasing kits such as holiday care, stocking stuffers, winter essentials, and child or youth activity.
“I know families that are struggling so hard,” said Head. “If we can give them a little Christmas miracle, even just something to bring a smile to their face, something to let them know they’re not alone, something to let them know they are cared for, and that people are thinking of them, our job is done.”
For Head and her family, who also volunteer with A Christmas Miracle Drive, giving back is second nature. In addition to the Christmas drive, they’ve been helping out a family each holiday season since 2005.
“Helping people and seeing and spreading the joy is literally my favourite thing,” said Head. “If I can help you, I’m going to help you.”
Drop-off locations for A Christmas Miracle Drive are located in Bradford (contact Mykayla Head), Keswick (contact Melanie Anne Carpenter), and Jackson’s Point (contact Christine Wallbank). Donations will be accepted online until December 10.