2021 was another year without answers in relation to the death of Vernon teen Traci Genereaux, and also another year in which her grandmother honoured her name with acts of kindness during the holiday season.
Traci’s Gift is an initiative started by Darcy Martin in 2020 to reflect her granddaughter’s giving spirit.
Genereaux’s remains were found on a Salmon River Road farm in October 2017. Police consider her death suspicious but have not laid charges, now four years after the fact.
It’s been hard for the family to grieve with no closure, but around Christmas time — Genereaux’s favourite time of year — Martin is now in the habit of bringing Christmas to locals who would otherwise have little means to celebrate the holidays.
For the second year in a row, she collected donations and sought families in need, putting together wish lists for them. Shortly before Christmas, she and a couple helpers dressed as elves to deliver presents and Christmas dinners to the four families she was able to sponsor with the $1,400 in donations she received.
Two of the families were made up of seniors, another was a mother with two teenage boys and the other family was a mother with a five-year-old girl with significant dietary restrictions.
“She was really struggling. All of her money was going towards everything she had to purchase for her daughter to eat. She didn’t know what she was going to get her or if she could get her anything for Christmas,” Martin said.
The girl had sent a note to Santa asking what his elves looked like, and it just so happened Martin was appropriately dressed to give her an answer. In addition to food and gifts, Martin came with a letter addressed to the girl from Santa Claus.
“That was emotional and a little bit overwhelming, but it was perfect, she was so happy.”
Though she raised less than half of what she did last year, she was able to spend all of this year’s donation money on presents, as Vernon’s FreshCo stepped up and provided food for the Christmas dinners free of charge.
“I would like to put a huge thank you out to Sean from FreshCo for that. He really helped me out because that way with less funds coming in I was able to use all of those towards the gift giving,” Martin said.
She also thanked Nature’s Fare Markets for supplying $250 worth of gift cards for the mother with the girl with eating restrictions, as well as all the individuals who chose to donate in Traci’s memory.
“It’s a wonderful feeling and I just know Traci’s up there looking down on us saying ‘you guys go!’ Because that’s something that she surely would have loved to do. And she would have dressed up as an elf and pitched in and helped with all of it and had a really good time, because she was such a giving person herself.”