The Red Deer Christmas Bureau is looking for support from citizens to help ensure that all local families have something under the tree this holiday season.
Donation bins will be distributed throughout the community this week and can be found in local malls.
“We are always looking for donations. It’s slowly trickling in right now but as soon as the toy boxes go out to the malls then we should start to see donations pick up,” said Teresa Kutynec, president at the Red Deer Christmas Bureau. “We do have a bit of carry-over from last year that gets us started but our shoppers start shopping on the 25th of November, so we need stuff before the so-called Christmas season starts.”
With the generosity of Red Deerians, the Christmas Bureau helped 1,100 children and also handed out 950 hampers to families last year. Hampers for families can include a 12 lb turkey, ham, 5 lbs of potatoes, four litres of milk, cereal, pancake mix, syrup, spaghetti and spaghetti sauce, two cans of vegetables, some fruit and Jell-O, among others.
“We purchase those hampers through the donation money that people give us because it is good for quality control and everyone gets the same thing.”
Officials are expecting to help around the same number of families this year, possibly even a little more.
“We’re wondering if due to the fact of the flooding in High River and Calgary (earlier this year), if we’ll feel some of that – probably through a little bit of a lack of donations because so many people have given to the victims of the flooding, which is great,” she said.
Any donations are welcome, but Kutynec said some good ideas including sporting goods like hockey sticks and skateboards, any type of electronics from clock radios to iPod Shuffles to small boom box stereos.
“We also always are looking for baby stuff because we do up baskets for women who are either ready to deliver or have a newborn,” she said. “We have a lady who knits blankets for us and then we put sleepers, diapers and bottles in them. Whatever we get donated, we make up in the basket.”
Kutynec added monetary donations are also accepted and officials with the organization will purchase items they are lacking to give to families. Tax receipts are also available for any donations over $20.
She encourages Red Deerians to donate because the donations stay in the community.
“We only service Red Deer, Red Deer County, Springbrook and Penhold,” she said. “We are also 100 per cent volunteer-based so all of money goes into the community. Of course we always have overhead like everyone else, but we have terrific volunteers and we’re always looking for more.”
For more information visit www.reddeerchristmasbureau.cfsites.org or call 403-347-2210. The Christmas Bureau is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. They are located at 15, 7428-49 Ave.