Poultry donation boosts Christmas Cheer Board
Every vehicle sold at a Crown Auto Group dealership in the month of December came with a little-known option — the donation of a turkey or chicken for Christmas Cheer Board hampers.
On Friday, Crown Auto Group staff delivered boxes of turkeys and chickens to the Christmas Cheer Board — with a promise to drop off more than 2,000 birds for hampers.
The dealership group presented a cheque to the Cheer Board confirming it would donate 2,196 turkeys and chickens (via partner Granny’s Poultry Cooperative): one bird for every car it has sold from late November through December.
“It’s a huge, huge thing,” said Kai Madsen, executive director of the Christmas Cheer Board, as a large truck from Granny’s pulled up to the seasonal charity, loaded with boxes of birds.
The Christmas Cheer Board is usually reluctant to accept donations of turkeys and chickens, Madsen said, but these birds have been looked after, so they’re good for Christmas hampers.
“It has to be good on Christmas Day, otherwise, I’m in big trouble,” Madsen said, adding problems begin when families get turkeys that haven’t been handled properly or have gone bad.
“No. 1, you can get severely ill. No. 2, you’re going to ruin somebody’s Christmas,” he said. “So we have to make sure that it’s good.”
The Christmas Cheer Board delivers 15,000 to 17,000 turkeys and chickens each year. The non-profit buys most of its birds from Granny’s, and it usually costs between $150,000 and $160,000.
“Keep your fingers crossed that we raise just enough money to pay the bills,” Madsen said.
Crown Auto Group has donated turkeys and chickens for the past five years — one per car sold, which means about $25 from each sale during its annual drive, according to Crown vice-president Kabeir Dilawri.
“They’re a great organization,” Dilawri said of the Cheer Board. “They’re here for us during the Christmas season to make sure everybody eats. That’s something we really believe in, with our values, so it kind of is a perfect match.”
The auto dealership group donated around 1,800 birds last year. Teams of Crown Auto Group employees will also deliver hampers in the coming weeks.
The Cheer Board provides about 17,500 hampers annually. People wanting to volunteer to deliver hampers don’t need to register — they can just show up to the Christmas Cheer Board’s warehouse at 947 St. James St.
Hampers are being delivered until Dec. 23.