With the daffodils in full bloom, Christmas seems a long time ago now, but two local groups working with the homeless and others at the margins are now sharing a $4,100 present from those distant festive times.

The Comox Bay Care Society, which operates the Care-A-Van mobile health service, has received $2,200 and Dawn-to-Dawn: Action on Homelessness Society has collected $1,900 for both the continue their work in the community.

HotChocolateslogoThe money was raised during the annual festive tours of the Comox Valley by the Cumberland Ready-Mix cement truck bedecked with 14,000 colourful lamps. The truck has been on the road at Christmas since 2006, but this past year the idea of raising some cash for good causes was suggested by its principal driver, Ron Woods, who also leads the annual decorating team. To offer something in appreciation for donations of $5 or more, the cement company ordered custom-wrapped chocolate bars from Hot Chocolates. In addition the bars, which pictured the illuminated truck on their wrappers, were sold through Hot Chocolates’ Fifth Street store.

JetFmOn three of the days the truck was on the road, it was accompanied by the Care-A-Van and volunteers at extended stops – at Canadian Tire, Driftwood Mall and in Fifth Street. Its tours and the appeal for donations on those and other evenings were also highlighted by radio station Jet FM. Also helping promote the bars and collecting other donations en route was Jill Carr-Hilton, who works for Cumberland Ready-Mix and who subsequently donated $600 from her own wages to the cause.

And although the intention all along was to buy the chocolate bars and donate all the profits, when the time came to settle the bill Hot Chocolates’ owner Jorden Marshall returned the uncashed cheque to supplement the festive fundraising. His staff had also donated their time in wrapping and packing the bars to keep the cost down.

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