Last Thursday at The Elk Hall, the tables were decorated with home-made reindeer and trees, in waiting for hungry little girls for turkey with their families.
It’s been eight years since Lynn Donovan, Pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Picton decided she wanted to start up an innovative program to help vulnerable girls ages six to nine in Prince Edward County. Therefore Reaching for Rainbows was born and has been educating and helping girls ever since.
The group, which is run by the program director, Jessika Daley-Leavitt, hosted their Annual Holiday Dinner at a new location this year, The Elks Hall in Picton, which was filled with smiles and giggles as the group and their families patiently waited for turkey and all the trimmings.
“They say that you’ll never work a day in your life if you love what you do,” Daley-Leavitt said through happy tear. “I don’t work, I absolutely love what I do, I love coming to Rainbows everyday and spending time with some pretty amazing young ladies. Everyday I look forward to seeing you, I don’t come to work, I come to spend time with you. I don’t work because we also have an amazing group of volunteers who I adore. They make everything run smooth and flawlessly, and as much as it looks like I’m doing all the work, it’s not me, it’s every one of them.”
The dinner, which was catered by Kyle and Nelda Jones of Flossie’s sandwiches, absorbed a good portion of the meal cost, not to mention toiling long hours to make it spectacular.
“When I went into the kitchen while the meal was being prepped,” said Judie McLauchlin, Vice Chair on the board of directors for Reaching for Rainbows. “I found Kyle stuffing big pats of butter into beautifully roasted turkey thighs and then tossing savoury herbs all over the platter. This was no ordinary buffet dinner, Kyle and his sidekick Nelda treated us as if we were royalty.”
The turkeys were generously donated by The County Farm Centre and chef Albert Ponzo of the soon-to-be Royal Hotel, baked big yummy chocolate chip cookies.
“After dinner, the girls flitted about in their finery, playing some kind of newly-invented game of tag,” McLauchlin said. “There were glimpses of plaid and shiny shoes as the girls wound round each other, laughing and giggling with the fun of it all.”
Ramesh Pooran kindly donated his time and talent in providing great memories for the guests by taking family photos by the Christmas tree.
“Also after dinner, the families sat and chatted with our volunteers and staff,” expressed McLauchlin. “It was heart-warning to hear, over and over again how important Reaching for Rainbows is to our girls and also to the people who love them. One of our moms went so far as to say that Rainbows has changed the lives of her two girls.”
As the end of the evening drew near, everyone started pitching in and helping with take down/cleanup.
“The families and the girls all helped the Rainbows team to take down tables and stack up chairs,” stated McLauchlin. “By 7:30 p.m. everyone had departed, clutching candy canes and table decorations hand-crafted by our girls. The only ones left in the Elks Hall were the dishwashers with 120 plates! Oh boy.”
Reaching for Rainbows encourages their girls to discover how courageous, creative, curious and capable they can be. They offer their girls the wonder of a room full of games, toys, materials and activities specifically chosen with their needs in mind and which connect them with a host of mind-growing experiences.
For more information or to donate please visit reachingforrainbows.com