Hoopstars usher in some holiday cheer

Posted On Tuesday December 22, 2020

Start small. Dream big. Spread kindness. 

What started as a modest holiday outreach initiative for the Ottawa Police Hoopstars, has grown into a city-wide celebration that this year raised $10,000 and will put a full Christmas feast on the tables of more than 100 families across Ottawa. 

In previous years, the Hoopstars would select one or two families around the holiday season and show up at their door with gifts and a food basket. This year, with the help of a potential new OPS recruit who is part of the Hoopstars’ mentoring program, that dream grew bigger.

Chris Lalonde, who runs the North Gloucester Giants, a football club that serves the Overbrook/Vanier area, wanted to do more this year to help others and enlisted the Hoopstars to launch a fundraising campaign to provide food and gifts to needy families. 

“We chose two additional communities and selected families with the help from of our Neighbourhood Resource Team officers,” said Sgt. Tucker.

It started with an online raffle and grew as more partners, like the Weston Hotel, Delta Hotel, Anytime Fitness, Mezzanotte Bistro, Ruckify, Stomping Grounds Lifestyle Boutique, Orleans Crossfit, Paradise Auto Repair, the Lion’s Mane Barber Shop and Rangoli Indian Cuisine, signed on to offer gifts as prizes for the raffle.

Hoopstars sponsor Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP upped the ante by providing a sizeable donation, and Councillor Tim Tierney helped to get the word out for an initiative that would provide more than 100 families full holiday hampers city-wide, plus gifts for three selected families in need.

“Chris told us about a family with five children, who suddenly lost the father, and the mother was not working and on disability,” said Sgt. Tucker. “We knew they would probably be struggling this Christmas and we wanted to make things a little better for them over the holidays.”

The Hoopstars spent December 17 sorting through the gifts and food to prepare the hampers, and on December 19 and 22, they set off across the city to deliver the holiday feasts.

But the Christmas giving didn’t stop there.

Our valued partnership with the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club has endured, and the Hoopstars signed up to help provide gifts for three additional families, with Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP pitching in to help in this annual event as well.

Inspired by this initiative, a caring @Ottawa.Police.Hoopstars Instagram follower, R. Bastarac, offered to buy one family a new washer and dryer after hearing their story, and worked with Mansfield Shoes in Manotick to get the entire family some new footwear for the winter.

Another anonymous donor covered the cost of the food hampers for the three families.

“It’s really amazing to see the generosity of people in this city,” said Sgt. Tucker. “It sends a message that everyone matters, that we are all here for each other, that we are one community.”

We would like to thank everyone that has donated their time or money to making this holiday season special for those who needed a little help this year. If you would still like to contribute, you can make donations to the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club, the United Way, or any of our local food banks

Happy holidays!