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Local reading of A Christmas Carol spreads holiday cheer and support for low-income women

Tickets available online for the December 1st event

This story is made possible through the support of Housser's Paint and Wallpaper as part of OrilliaMatters' Community Leaders Program

A local reading of a holiday classic is spreading the gift of giving with its goal of helping low-income women and their families.

The holiday-inspired reading — Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol — is being put on by the Green Haven Women’s Shelter and Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie this Friday, Dec. 1, at St. Paul’s Centre in Orillia.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for years,” says Linda Reid, the founder of the event and Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie. “Women living in a shelter or low-income women can’t take their families out to something like this, so we’re inviting them for free, and it’s also a chance for the community to come together and raise a bit of money for both organizations.”

Five prominent individuals from the community, including the Hon. Adam Chambers MP, Mayor Don McIssac, Krista Storey, Raquel Ness and Carey Moran, will be reading passages from the book; local musician Sean Patrick will be performing in between the readings.

Last year's inaugural event raised over $6,000 and had around 120 attendees; Reid hopes to raise just as much this year, although she says ticket sales are down.

“It's really tough this year; donations are down, volunteerism is down, and ticket sales to events are down,” she explains. “So it's been a difficult year for the charitable sector as a whole.”

With a 600% increase in demand for the services provided by Dress for Success over the last two years, supporting events like this has become even more critical.

“Since the start of this year, we have served just under 500 women,” Reid says.

Dress for Success helps women and non-binary individuals achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help them thrive at work and in life. Green Haven Shelter for Women is a charitable organization for women experiencing gender-based violence in Orillia and area.

Tickets to the Reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol can be purchased online here.

Donations to Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie can be made online, as can donations to Green Haven Shelter for Women.