Wrapping presents provides gifts for community organizations in Colchester

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By Maria Karampelas, with Truro Daily News files, Special to Truro Daily News

TRURO - For the past 25 years, a community-minded organization has been wrapping gifts at the Truro Mall.

TRURO - For the past 25 years, a community-minded organization has been wrapping gifts at the Truro Mall in exchange for donations toward helping charities in the community.

United Commercial Travellers (UCT) of America is a worldwide club, more than 90 years old. The Truro chapter celebrated its 50th anniversary in March of this year.

Members volunteer their time during the holiday season hosting a giftwrap and coat check booth offering help to anyone needing assistance.

“People come to us from as far away as New Glasgow … and get us to wrap their gifts,” said longtime member Basil McLeod who volunteers at the booth three days a week.

The Truro branch has about 54 members, which has gradually decreased from more than 100 in past years.

 “Our main purpose is to help people in the community who have handicaps and mental challenges,” said Phil Dauphinee, UCT member for 53 years.

It’s a group of like-minded individuals who were former salespeople. The club is one that at one time was by invitation only.

“Now though, as everyone is getting older and no one has time to volunteer we would take any volunteers,” said Dauphinee. The organization helped build the Butler’s building on Lorne Street, which is where the Colchester County Food Bank is now located.

UCT supports groups involved with the Community Workshop, cancer research, drug awareness programs, community projects and there is also a UCT scholarship fund.

 The number of charities they are able to help each year depends on donations collected during the club’s biggest fundraiser of the year, which is wrapping presents at the mall.

Dauphinee said the group raises about $2,500 annually to support its selected causes.

“We really enjoy coming out. It’s nice to see people we know out shopping and it’s a festive feeling here,” said McLeod.

He said the effort by this organization is another example of how the community comes together at Christmastime. They are pleased to donate their time and raise money for groups in the community who need more assistance at this time of year.

Jaclyn Johnston, Truro Mall marketing manager, said they purchase the paper and bows for the club’s booth and are pleased the donations go back to the community.

“It’s a nice way to give back and help out our customers,” she said.

“With them, along with several community groups that come in, they are definitely a staple to our holiday events.

“It’s really something our customers look forward to.”

The booth is set up near the Marks Work Wearhouse entrance of the mall and will remain until Christmas eve.

Organizations: Daily News, Colchester County Food Bank, Community Workshop Marks Work Wearhouse

Geographic location: Colchester, America, New Glasgow Lorne Street

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