While it may not be your tradition to buy a calendar filled with cute chicks at the turn of the year, a local photographer is asking you to make an exception.

To pass the time during the COVID-19 isolation, Charmaine Toews says she spent her spring taking photos of baby chickens sitting in toy lawn chairs, driving toy cars, and bathing in toy baths. Originally, the unusual hobby was meant simply to entertain her kids, but Toews says the process ended up being more fun than they had anticipated.

“Honestly, we took a photo of a chick in a fire truck and it just sort of evolved," she laughs, "eventually we had 24 pictures of chicks and I felt like I needed to do something good with these images.”

After mulling it over for a few days, Toews decided that “something good” was going to be creating a calendar and donating its proceeds to Safe Families, a charity new to the Steinbach region. Safe Families specializes in keeping children safe and keeping families together by creating extended-family-like supports that can come alongside them in a time of crisis. As Toews explains it, the non-profit was “delighted” to hear her idea.

“So I put together the calendar, I designed it, I gathered all of the sponsors and now I am going to try and get these sold so I can raise money for a really good cause!”

Toews says the majority of her sponsors have the calendars for sale at their business.

Toews says several local businesses were willing to fund the cost of creating the calendars as well as some greeting cards with the same imaging. The limited-edition items are now available within those sponsor businesses for $20 apiece. “Chicks For Charity” is the title emblazoned on the new 2021 calendar. Sales launched on the 1st of October and will be ongoing while supplies last. Toews notes a total of 500 calendars are currently in print and 100 packages of cards. If Toews sells out as she hopes, she will have made $8,500 for Safe Families.

“They’re great gifts for Christmas or just to cheer you up for 2021,” she suggests, “and I’m hopeful it is going to be a better year than this one.”

To purchase your own calendar or set of cards, contact or head down to any one of the following businesses:

Oakridge Garden Centre
Blue Ridge Self Storage
Fairway Fords
The Great Canadian Dollar Store
Coldwell Banker
Clearview Co-op
Stone Brook Strength
Steinbach Christian School
Goldenwest Radio
Solomon’s Furniture and Appliances
Print Studio One