Putting smiles on children’s faces is once again the goal of this year’s Ugly Sweater Run set for Sunday, December 13 in Sydney.
Hosted by two local journalists, the fourth annual event will begin at 10 am on the Esplanade outside Governor’s Restaurant and involve a 5 km out-and-back fun run around Sydney’s north end. All entrants are asked to don their most stand-out Christmas attire and provide one unwrapped toy or $20 in lieu of a gift, all of which will be donated to Transition House, a shelter for abused women and children.
Independent journalist Tera Camus and CBC journalist Wendy Martin started the event more than four years ago as a way to give back to the community’s most vulnerable – children of broken homes.
“As a survivor of domestic violence and a single mother, I know the difficulty associated with providing children gifts at Christmas,” said co-organizer Tera Camus. “It’s tough in good times, and it’s rougher in bad times, so this is a chance for others to spread a little Christmas cheer and help single parents and their children who haven’t got it so easy in life here in Cape Breton.”
Sheldon Nathanson Law, located at the former Sydney Tar Ponds building at 50 Stable Drive, has agreed once again to team up with the Ugly Sweater Run organizers to collect gifts up until race day. Anyone can drop off unwrapped gifts suitable for children aged newborn to 18 years old at the law office Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm.
Last year, the Ugly Sweater Run and Nathanson’s former law offices in New Waterford, Whitney Pier and Sydney River collected money and gifts that ended up helping more than 125 children from 55 families at Christmas.
“We hope to exceed or meet last year’s numbers,” says co-organizer Martin. “Every year it seems to grow in support.”
Winners of the foot race get bragging rights as well as prizes with a free all-you-can-eat brunch at Governor’s for the most outrageous Christmas sweater or outfit. Registration on race day will begin at 9 am inside the restaurant.
Transition House provides emergency shelter to Cape Breton women and children escaping abusive households. It receives hundreds of emergency calls annually and provides not only shelter, but safety and protection planning, advocacy on behalf of clients, transportation services, counselling and housing referrals among other help.