Local agencies gearing up for Christmas season

  • Nov. 14, 2012 4:00 p.m.

A number of local agencies are gearing up for a busy Christmas season as fundraising efforts get underway. As the holiday season fast approaches, it’s the time of the year many agencies hold their biggest fundraisers.

At the Red Deer Christmas Bureau, officials are anticipating a busy December as a number of fundraisers are set to take place.

Some of the fundraising events the Bureau will receive goods from next month include the RCMP Charity Check Stop, Toys for Tickets, the Westerner Christmas Bazaar Craft Show, Stuff-A-Bus in conjunction with the Red Deer Food Bank, the toque toss at the Rebels game as well as the cash cans local businesses have put out.

The organization is also accepting applications from families in need of support over the holiday season.

“We accept families who need some extra assistance. They can come in and shop for their kids. We have the place set up like a store,” said Gerri Tiller, toy depot director and volunteer coordinator at the Red Deer Christmas Bureau. “We try to help make sure all families out there have a Christmas. Many of the children in these families don’t get birthday gifts or other gifts throughout the year, so we want to make Christmas an extra special time for them.”

Last year, the Bureau helped 1,055 families from Red Deer and Springbrook. This year, they will also help families in Penhold and Tiller said she expects that number to be higher.

“We are still in need of donations, especially donations for the older kids,” said Tiller.

She added some examples of donations for children aged 14 to 16 include tools, hockey sticks and fishing rods for the boys and blow dryers, curling irons and make-up for the girls. Other suggestions include pajamas and watches.

In addition, the Salvation Army also has a number of events in the upcoming weeks.

The Kettle Campaign will kick of Nov. 22 and run until Dec. 22. This is the largest fundraiser for the organization.

“We’ve set a goal of $190,000 this year. Last year our goal was $185,000 but we surpassed the $190,000 mark,” said Major Larry Bridger. “The money raised from the campaign goes towards all of our operations for the year.”

Volunteers are needed for the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign. Those interested in helping out are asked to call 403-346-2251.

The Salvation Army is also taking registrations for its Adopt-A-Family program. Last year, the organization helped 187 families and they anticipate the number will be the same this year, if not more.

“We provide a family with enough groceries to have a Christmas dinner, plus extras as well. We also provide children with toys to open on Christmas morning,” said Bridger.

Registrations for Adopt-A-Family will be accepted until Dec. 14.

Bridger added they are also looking for anyone interested in sponsoring a family through the program as well.

“It costs $400 to provide a family of four with a complete Christmas. Even if someone can’t afford to give $400, we also take donations for the program as well.”

Meanwhile, a new fundraiser for the local Salvation Army that began last year will take place next month. The Santa Shuffle and Elf Walk, a fundraiser put on by the Running Room, is a 5 km run or a 1 km walk. Participants pay a $30 registration fee and all proceeds are donated to the Salvation Army. The event runs Dec. 1.