IGA’s “Operation Snowman”

Melts Hearts and Builds Community

On December 22nd, Habitat’s Executive Director Ron Pepper was notified that IGA Wilson Creek had gifts and food hampers waiting for pick up for the newest Habitat family.  The mountain of generosity that was witnessed at IGA’s Customer Service area that day brought tears to the eyes of the Morgan family and changed their lives at Christmas, and beyond.

It all began in November when Jim Morgan, a single dad with three children who have partnered with Habitat, asked the Habitat board members would kindly consider donating their IGA stamps for the promotional cookware set.  Jim had his eye on getting the shiny, new frying pan on display at IGA.  Of course, the board was more than happy to donate their stamps.  To accumulate the stamps more quickly for Jim, they also asked the IGA store manager if they could work together to collect more donated stamps from MarketPlace IGA customers checking out at the cash registers.   A couple of days later, the owners, Bob and Susan Hoy, called the board member to find out a little more about the family.  As a result, family was chosen to receive the community’s donations solicited by the IGA staff for their annual “Operation Snowman” program which helps less fortunate families.

The Morgans had been partnered with Habitat for two years and had completed most of their “sweat equity,” with the entire family participating in volunteer work at the site of their new home.  They anxiously awaited  news of the completion of their duplex at Sunshine Coast Village.  It had been a very difficult year for the Morgans, having overcome financial and health challenges as well as crowded conditions as they lived together in their small RV situated in a Gibsons trailer park.  However, their faith and optimism prevailed.  On December 21st , John Hardt from the building department of the District of Sechelt arrived with a smile, the gift of a fresh Christmas tree and the welcome news of a forthcoming  occupancy permit.  The Morgans were given the green light and began to cheerfully move their possessions into their new home.

The following day, the Morgans were overwhelmed by the show of compassion and generosity evidenced by the IGA hampers, numerous  wrapped gifts and gift cards from a long list of donors, delivered to them by Habitat’s Executive Director.  The IGA team leading “Operation Snowman” had solicited an unprecedented show of support.  The words “thank you” were just not sufficient to express the enormous appreciation felt by the Morgans and volunteers of Habitat Sunshine Coast.   Yet Market Place IGA owners, Bob and Susan Hoy, declined an opportunity to be recognized with a “Thank you” ad in local newspapers.

The Morgans continue to enjoy and be grateful for their gifts.  Jim Morgan has expressed how embraced and appreciated he feels in his new community, especially when he and his children do their grocery shopping at the nearby IGA at Wilson Creek.  The efforts of the IGA team have not only raised awareness and support for Habitat – they have created a greater sense of community and an appreciation for the immense generosity that resides on the Sunshine Coast.   Habitat and the Morgans would like to extend the most sincere and heartfelt thanks to Bob and Susan Hoy, Ashley Brackett, Breann Shearsmith, Darla Hemstalk, Denise Scoular and the entire “Operation Snowman” team at Market Place IGA Wilson Creek!