Elves and Santas take to streets for Salvation Army fundraiser

Mitch MacDonald
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A large group of runners dressed as "Olaf" the snowman from the Disney movie "Frozen" run make their way down Fitzroy Street in Charlottetown during the Dec. 5, 2015 Santa Shuffle Fun Run and Elf Walk fundraiser. The run, which has been held nationally for 25 years, is co-ordinated by the Running Room and sees all proceeds go to the Salvation Army.

Maj. Daniel Roode knows that need has no season.

The corps officer and pastor for Charlottetown Salvation Army has seen first-hand how the need among society's most vulnerable still remains even long after the Christmas trees and decorations are taken down.

"People come to us in January and February just as much as they do in December... I would always remind folks any money we raise at Christmas isn't just used to help people during Christmas but also throughout the year," Roode said during Saturday's Santa Shuffle Fun Run and Elf Walk fundraiser. "Awareness is always highest and felt the most at Christmas. That's when need is felt the most severely and I think that's why generosity also is peaked."

The generosity of Islanders was on full display during Saturday's colourful Christmas-themed fundraiser.

The event saw a small army of Santas, elves, snowmen and even a couple of trees take over Charlottetown's streets.

The initiative, which included either a five km run or one km walk, has been held nationally for about 25 years and is in its fifth year on P.E.I.

The event was also the first for Roode, who said the fundraiser saw large participation by the province's subculture of runners and was facilitated by the Running Room store.

"They've said we want to step up and make our contribution," said Roode. "They partner with a group like the Salvation Army, who have the public trust where people look to us in their time of need. But we're only as good at helping them as people are in helping us. So they're coming to our help today."

Jennifer Hanus, event co-ordinator for the P.E.I. Running Room, said the Salvation Army run is a special one for the group.

"We do a little more and try to get a little more involved with the event," said Hanus, who noted it wasn't hard to get P.E.I.'s runners to participate in the feel-good event. "There are a lot of us and we're all a little crazy. If we get an event we can dress up for, we will and we'll go all out."

Hanus said apart from the funds raised, the highly visual event also brings awareness to the Salvation Army and promotes healthy living during the colder winter months.

Roode said the Salvation Army was thankful for the generous support.

"We wouldn't be able to offer our services without them," said Roode, adding that those who missed Saturday's run can still volunteer or donate. "Christmas is still coming and we still need more volunteers. Every time someone sees a red kettle in stores or a mall, please donate. We also encourage considered donations during the end of the year."

Organizations: Salvation Army

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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