Willows residents help volunteer send Christmas cards to Canadian soldiers overseas

Willows Estate volunteer Dianne Harrison, pictured here standing, poses for a photo with some of the Aurora long-term care home's residents who helped send signed Christmas cards to Canadian troops stationed overseas. Dianne has collected about 3,500 Christmas cards from the community this year.

Willows Estate volunteer Dianne Harrison, pictured here standing, poses for a photo with some of the Aurora long-term care home’s residents who helped send signed Christmas cards for Canadian troops stationed overseas. Dianne has collected about 3,500 Christmas cards from the community this year as part of an annual initiative to wish Armed Forces personnel a merry Christmas.

Residents sign 56 of the more than 3,500 cards Dianne Harrison will be sending

For 12 years, Aurora, Ont. resident and Willows Estate volunteer Dianne Harrison has been involved in an initiative to send as many Christmas cards as possible to troops serving in the Canadian Armed Forces overseas.

Dianne took over the program after her friend who started it passed away. Each year Dianne and her family collect more signed cards than the year previous. This year, she had some help from Willows Estate residents, who signed 56 of the approximately 3,500 Christmas cards she already has signed.

Last year Dianne set a goal to send 300 signed Christmas cards from across York Region, but more than doubled that amount by collecting 672 cards.

This year Dianne set a goal of 2,000 cards, so she has already more than surpassed her pledge.

“And I believe we will end up with well over 4,000 – we have far exceeded the goal,” Dianne tells The OMNIway.

“The seniors here loved doing this,” she adds.

Dianne, who has been volunteering with her church group at Willows Estate for four years, has had lots of help from people across Ontario – and Canada – helping her with this initiative.

“This is snowballing. I’ve got kids from as far away as Calgary writing cards at their schools, we have people in Barrie and in Port Hope, they’re all setting goals this year,” she says.

“Next year, I will be coming back to the Willows to do the cards again. … It’s just phenomenal what has been happening.”

Dianne is still accepting Christmas cards. If you would like to donate signed Christmas cards to Dianne, you can drop them off at Willows Estate, or you can e-mail her at bdharrison2012(at)gmail.com for more information.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.com.