Letters from Santas: January 2017

Remembering Lawrie Smith
Lawrie and Jacki Smith

This month’s letter is dedicated to the memory of Lawrie Smith, who passed away on January 1st, 2017, after battling ALS for over a year.

Lawrie will be remembered by everyone at Santas Anonymous for his generous spirit, warm heart, and thoughtful leadership. In our December Letter from Santas, he wrote about how lucky he was to be “part of such a marvelous adventure”. In the years to come, his impact will be felt throughout our operations, from the way we do certain things to the family members who have taken up his cause.

Santas Anonymous would not be what it is today without people like Lawrie Smith, and we will never forget him.

Lawrie Smith was a dear friend to many, a beloved volunteer for CFAX Santas Anonymous, and a treasured member of the Greater Victoria community.

As he wrote about in his Letter from Santas, Lawrie joined Santas Anonymous over 26 years ago, alongside his wife, Jacki. He dedicated countless hours to managing the warehouse for our Christmas Hamper program, and contributed throughout the year to volunteer recruitment and program development. Thanks to Lawrie’s resourcefulness, attention to detail, and organizational talents, Santas Anonymous has grown into the organization it is today.

However, while we valued Lawrie for his skills, what we love most about him is his spirit.

Lawrie knew that people working together could do wonderful things and make a difference–that’s why one of his favourite phrases was, “we can make that happen”. He understood the importance of approaching every challenge as a team, and shared that value with everyone he met.

When folks say “we lost a great man” it is true, we did. But we all move into the future with a common thread.

As Lawrie led us, we will lead others. We will continue to learn from the example he set, and carry his legacy well into the future. We will wear our passion on our sleeves, and work together to make this a better world.

We will make it happen.

And through it all, we will carry him in our hearts.


Christine Hewitt
Executive Director

A Celebration of Lawrie’s life will be held at the Mary Winspear Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave W, Sidney, on Sunday, January 15, 2017 at 2:00 pm. Condolences may be offered to the family at pacificcoastcremation.com.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to CFAX Santas Anonymous Society in Lawrie’s honour.

Happy holidays!

Our Christmas hampers have been collected by local families in need, ensuring that they’ll have food for the holidays and gifts to be opened on Christmas Day. Our work is done, and our 2016 hamper program draws to a close.

We’re grateful for the thousands of donors and supporters in our community. Thank you for helping us serve more families than ever and raise a record sum of $579,370 during our Miracle on Broad Street radiothon. Your continued support inspires us to do more every year.

We’re grateful to our local firefighters, who delivered hampers all over Greater Victoria. Thank you for reminding us of all the brave people in emergency services working on behalf of our community every day.

And we are grateful for the hundreds of volunteers who put in countless hours over the past year. You volunteered in shopping centres, wrapped gifts in our workshop, and packed groceries in our warehouse. You organized events, coordinated operations, and kept this giant machine running smoothly. And when families came to our warehouse to pick up their hampers, you greeted them with smiles, entertained the children, and brightened their spirits for the days ahead. Thank you for the energy and enthusiasm you bring to Santas Anonymous and the people we serve.

Working together, we made this holiday season better for hundreds of families in Greater Victoria. More importantly, we let them know that they are not alone. Thank you all for making a difference in our community. We couldn’t do this without you.

From all of us at CFAX Santas Anonymous, happy holidays and best wishes for 2017.

It’s not too late to donate!

Our Tree of Wishes displays have left the malls and our hampers have been delivered, but we accept donations year-round. With your help, we’ll support families dealing with crises such as house fires and other disasters.

Throughout the year, you can bring your donations of new toys and clothing to our office at 1420 Broad Street, where the front desk is staffed 24 hours a day. Monetary donations can be made online via CanadaHelps.

Another Miracle and a new record

The phone lines are closed, and this year’s Miracle on Broad Street radiothon on CFAX 1070 has come to an end. With your contributions, we raised a record $579,370 to provide food for local families in need.

You can still help! Pledge online via CanadaHelps, or drop by a Tree of Wishes display in a mall near you to make a donation or fill a Santa Bear gift request for a child or teenager.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us make a miracle!

Letters from Santas: December 2016

Do you know what keeps Santas Anonymous busy throughout the year? Follow our “Letters from Santas” series to learn more about the people at the heart of Santas Anonymous, and why we love what we do.

December’s guest writer

The 2016 Volunteer of the Year, Santa Bear, with 2015 recipients Lawrie and Jacki Smith

This month’s Letter from Santas comes to us from Lawrie Smith, the co-recipient of our 2015 Volunteer of the Year award with his wife, Jacki.

Lawrie and Jacki have been the heart and soul of Santas Anonymous for decades, giving more of their time and energy than any other volunteer over the past 27 years. Without their leadership and devotion to helping others, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

You might imagine that December is a special month for the Smiths. And you’d be right. Continue reading »