It took two days, three trips with wagons and two excited kids to deliver 200 treat bags and some much-needed holiday cheer to Penticton neighbourhoods.
The random act of kindness took place on Nov. 22 and 23 by the Smethurst family of four who went all around their neighbourhood, dropping off bags full of home-cooked cookies, kettle corn and more, just to spread some joy when people might need it the most.
“We did this last year but only on our street,” said Ashley Smethurst, mom and organizer of the random acts of kindness.
This time they did 200 goodie baskets with four different treats inside, a bag of reindeer chow, a bag of kettle corn, two chocolate chip cookies each and a rice crispy square.
“My kids loved doing it,” she said. “By the end all our legs were sore and we were exhausted!”
“Christmas is about giving and this year is definitely important to put smiles on faces. Our family enjoy the feeling of giving,” said Smethurst. “Doing something for others warms your heart.”
It was Ashley, her husband Matthew, son Kai and daughter Julia who handed out the treats to homes. The response was one of cheer, some thanking the Smethursts for brightening their day and outlook on this difficult year.
One person said “thank you so much for this special treat, so yummy too. I swear my heart grew sizes.”
Another person said they would carry the kindness forward.
The Smethursts plan on spreading even more cheer this holiday season.
Maybe you remember this family from last December when they invited strangers into their home to spend Christmas with them. Ashley took to several Penticton Facebook pages asking anyone who would otherwise spend Christmas alone to join their family.
“We wanted to invite people to Christmas dinner again this year, but obviously that can’t happen,” she added.
This year, due to COVID-19 measures, the dinner will be take home only.
Last year, they had a couple people join them in their home for Christmas dinner and they also fed 56 people with take home dinners. They will be offering take home dinners again this year.
So how does she make all those meals?
Ashley loves to cook and her husband used to work as a chef.
“We use our oven and our neighbour’s Nanna Dee to make all the Christmas meals.”
“2020 might be a horrible year but our spirits are still high, opening our hearts and bringing some cheer.”
If you have a family member, a neighbour in need of a Christmas meal, please feel welcome to pick up a dinner for them as well as for yourself, she said.
“Let those who need it know or those hungry, or those who are just plain lonely or don’t want to cook a big meal for one or two people… share the love, share the season and fill up some bellies… Everyone has a story, a past and a future. Let’s leave no one out.”
Ashley will be posting the dinner menu at the beginning of December and they already have some friends chipping in to make goodies to hand out to neighbourhoods.
“Please don’t be afraid to message me so we have an idea how much to make for Christmas.”
You can contact Ashley Smethurst on her Facebook page.
COVID safety measures will be in place at all times, she said.
“No one deserves to be alone or hungry on Christmas,” Ashley said.