The COVID-19 crisis has impacted not for profits throughout our region.  Christmas 2020 may not be on people’s minds just yet, but we are only half a year away from the holidays, and that means that Lori Jones and her intrepid band of volunteers who deliver holiday cheer to over 450 children each year need to kick things into high gear.  This year has been tough enough; they don’t want the children to wake up to zero presents on top of it all!

Lori is longtime President of the Southern Saratoga County Chamber Angels, an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) not for profit that raises funds, coordinates the holiday shopping efforts, and makes sure the children get their wishes fulfilled.  Now in its 31st year, the team may be playing catch-up, but they have a great plan to offer up some fun to the community while raising the needed funds to take care of the needy children just a few months hence:  The “Christmas in July” Virtual Celebration!

The highlight of the Celebration will be the “Christmas in July Virtual 5k Run/Walk”, held from 7a.m. July 25 until 8 p.m. on July 26.     This will be a virtual event, so that participants may run or walk on their own time, at the venue of their choice, in a socially-distanced manner.  If a 5k isn’t for you, you can still support the Angels and their mission by doing something festive and adding a little holiday cheer to your summer, taking photos and sharing on social media.  The goal is to make as many people as possible aware of the importance of the Angels’ mission and to ensure that it is successful this year despite the health and economic challenges our region has faced. 

Donations in any amount are accepted on the chamberangels.com website, and will count as one entry in a raffle for a photo shoot by a local photographer.  Participants can also take photos and videos on their own, and tag @ChamberAngels or use the hashtag #ChamberAngelsChristmasInJulyVirtualCelebration . 

The Angels normally invest approximately $125 per child to purchase the items on their wish lists.  

Your business may wish to participate in “Christmas in July” as well.  For example, Big Big on the Battenkill Kayak and Tubing (www.bigbigonthebattenkill.com, (802) 375-6300) is donating $15 from every tube rental during the month of July for customers using the promo code “ANGELS”.   During a warm summer like this, it is definitely a great time to take advantage of some of our region’s wonderful amenities while at the same time supporting a great cause!  For more information please email pbardunias@capitalregionchamber.com .

-Pete Bardunias, Senior Vice President, Community Advancement, Capital Region Chamber

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