Wrapping service benefits many

Monique Chiasson
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TRURO - Rod and Lois Smith barely had time to take off their jackets when a string of people rushed to them hoping for immediate assistance.
"Can you wrap cats?" one man jokingly asked as he walked by the married couple who wrap Christmas parcels at the Truro Mall as volunteers with the United Commercial Travelers.
The Truro duo are two of about 20 people who lend a helping hand the month of December to others who can not or do not want to wrap Christmas gifts on their own.
"Some are dillies ... I had to wrap a guitar and that was hard," laughed Rod as he set up "shop" first thing Saturday morning.
"The most popular things we see are chocolates, shirts and socks," he added.
Within minutes of making their services available Saturday, many stopped to ask questions, wish them Merry Christmas and, of course, have gifts wrapped.
"This is good because I can't wrap, it saves me the work and it helps take the stress of it away," said North River's Arden Cream as he loaded a pile of about 10 gifts on the counter for assistance.
"It gets a little hectic at times but I don't mind," said Lois as she grabbed the tape while her husband measured out a suitable size of wrapping paper for one of the gifts.
"It's fun meeting people and people are quite patient," said Lois, adding the majority of the people asking for the service that she and her husband have helped are men.
"Men aren't adept at wrapping and it's more of a chore for them. A lot of older people ask for help too," she said.
Rod said he's been helping the initiative for about 10 years. He said the Christmas wrapping service is "as busy" as last year and gifts can be left with the volunteers or people can wait for the wrapping as it is being done. Gifts needing to be wrapped don't have to be purchased from the mall, the duo said.
The service has been offered for at least a dozen years, estimates Rod.
Wrapping is free of charge but donations are welcome. Donations go to the United Commercial Travelers, a non-profit group that supports local organizations. Coat
and parcel checks are also offered for a
minimal price as is cling and foil paper. The service is offered daily, usually from 10 a.m. until closing.


Geographic location: North River

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