Giftmas 2023: Winter Light to benefit the Edmonton Food Bank

Posted by on Dec 5, 2023 in Blog, giftmas | 4 comments

giftmas 2023

Giftmas is an annual tradition here on my site. Rhonda Parrish organizes the event to benefit the Edmonton Food Bank, and each year (knock on wood), it has funded. The goal this year is $1,000 CAD. The Food Bank can make 3,000 meals out of that. Wow. (For the Americans reading, note that the current exchange rate is about 1 USD = 1.29974 CAD. That means there’s a lot of bang in that American buck.)

If you want to avoid my wall o’ text below, click here and donate right now! And hey, we’re all fancy this year. There’s a QR code!

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Our theme this year is “Winter Light.” Those words can be interpreted many ways. Considering what to say feels a bit overwhelming, to be honest. Therefore, I’ll go ahead and babble to work out my thoughts.

I’ve spent the past 16 winters in Arizona. There is very little winter to be experienced there, and that’s how a lot of people like it. You get maybe a month and a half of “cold” weather, and maybe there’s a week in there where the nightly lows dip near freezing and threaten to kill sensitive desert plants. Overall, though, the experience is quite mild, and likely has little rain, too.

I’m now residing in southeastern Minnesota. I’m starting to experience winter as I never have before. I’ve seen it snow maybe, oh, five times in my life prior to moving here, and all of these instances were when I lived in Washington state, where the mere hint of forecasted snow creates panic and mayhem. Minnesotans are made of stronger stuff. Me, I’m the newbie. California-born. I grew up with cold weather and fog, not snow, and definitely not below-zero temperatures. I’m learning to layer clothes in new ways.

The weather forecasters here keep mentioning “Alberta clippers” that bring cold fronts this way. Mentions of Alberta make me think of Rhonda (the organizer of Giftmas) up there in Edmonton, every time, because she’s the person I’ve known there for ages. So, the brutally cold weather I’m experiencing and will soon be experiencing more fully is coming here courtesy of Alberta, home of the Edmonton Food Bank.

People, it’s been cold here in Minnesota. Two days ago, it hit 1-degree here, with a wind chill below zero. That means it’s surely colder up in Edmonton. And darker. And scarier. I’m finding this winter change daunting as I shelter in my house with a (mostly) working thermostat and a stockpile of cheese in the fridge. How much worse is it for people who don’t have food? If there’s no money for food, there may not be much for heating a house or apartment, either. As my grandpa used to say, speaking about his impoverished barefoot youth in Arkansas, “It’s much harder being poor when it’s cold.”

People need food. Heat. Light. HOPE. Please, please, spare what you can and give the Edmonton Food Bank some help for this winter, so they can help others in turn.

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  1. That was beautiful, Beth.

    I hope, even as you adjust to home in a new climate, that you find some beauty in the winter as well. It’s there.

    • I’m reacting to it all with the awe of a child. I saw deer tracks in snow this very morning, in my own yard!

  2. Love the post and welcome to seriously cold weather, Beth! Layers are most assuredly a thing as are a really good pair of slippers.

  3. Beautiful post. As a resident of temperate Ireland, I feel a bit anxious at the thought of such cold weather!


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