With the air conditioning unit on the fritz in our office again, I can admit to you I wasn't thinking much about Christmas or anything wintery as I prepared Tuesday's paper for press.
That is, until Amelia Norie and the team at the local Salvation Army alerted me to a Christmas Kettle drive set for later this month.
Suddenly, the thoughts of snowstorms, snowball fights, snow angels, and giant icicles hanging from the roof lines began popping into my brain.
Needless to say, I ran to the fridge in search of some ice. But I digress, as I do so easily, a fan blasting two feet from my face, and an ice pack discovered in said freezer helping restore my temperature to a more acceptable level.
Having now instilled thoughts about Christmas in your brain, too, I might as well tell you a little more about the Christmas campaign being held by the Caring Place.
A team of bell ringers will be dusting off the red kettles on Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21, to celebrate Christmas in July in a variety of locations around Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Specifically, you can expect to see them at the Save-On-Food outlets on Friday, from 2 to 6 p.m., then at the London Drugs entrance of Valley Fair Mall, Zellers, Canadian Tire, Superstore, and Extra Foods from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Their goal: to raise money for the community meal program they offer 365 days a week at the Caring Place - I'm referring to the church, homeless shelter, and outreach facility that - for those of us who are old enough to recall, was once referred to as the pink elephant - is located at the corner of the Haney Bypass and Lougheed Highway.
Serving up three meals a day, that translates to 110,000 meals a year, and undoubtedly enough food for that many meals is costly.
"We want to highlight that there's a need to run our community meal program all year round," said Caring Place director Darrell Pilgrim. The bulk of the funds for this program come from the red kettle campaign run at Christmastime.
"But the need is ongoing," Pilgrim said, noting that, by raising money in the middle of the year, the Caring Place hopes to help supplement the deficit that isn't covered by its traditional red kettle income.
Christmas in July might be new to the local Salvation Army, but it's not new to many food-based charities - especially food banks. Many run a variation on this theme, hoping to replenish the stock in their dwindling pantries during the summer months.
While I've told you in past that I'm not big on attending church myself, and I don't believe anyone's beliefs should be foisted upon others, there are a few incredible, active faith-based organizations in this community that do a lot for our residents. And I wholeheartedly support their compassionate efforts.
The Caring Place is, without question, one such group, and given my temporary obsession with Christmas, I'll have to visit one of the kettles later this month.
In the meantime, sticking my head in the freezer and devouring lots of cold beverages will have to suffice to cool me down for now, and may my Christmas-in-July wish come true.
But hark, while I leave it to you, the local residents, to help make the Christmas wishes of Amelia come true, I hear footsteps on the roof above.
Maybe it's a team of elves here to fix the blessed air conditioner. That's my Christmas-in-July wish - that, and peace and joy to the world.
If you're interested in helping - and I don't mean with the air conditioning - volunteers are still needed to assist with the two-day July kettle campaign.
Shifts are two hours long at any of the seven locations. Interested volunteers can simply call Amelia Norrie at 604-463-8296, ext. 106, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org