Local organization in the holiday spirit

One local business is giving back this holiday season.

[engage], a non-profit professional development and networking organization in Red Deer which is made up of young professionals and entrepreneurs has started their first EPIC (engage participating in communities) initiative.

For their 2010 holiday season fundraiser, [engage] is collecting donations for gift bags for women and children in the community who are being supported by the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter (CAWES).

“We really wanted to give back this Christmas season and the women’s shelter seemed like a good fit for us,” said Mike Szyszka, president of [engage].

CAWES has been a comfort and support to women and their children for more than 27 years. Every year, CAWES assists more than 800 women and children as they escape from domestic violence situations.

[engage] is soliciting donations to create at least 40 woman’s gift bags and 40 children’s stockings. Their goal is to help ensure that every woman and child staying at the shelter this Christmas will enjoy something special on Christmas morning, reminding them that though they may be experiencing crisis, they are not alone.

Donations of new gifts, treats or gift certificates are items that could be included in the gift bags or stockings. Cash donations are also being accepted and will be put towards the purchase of these items.

“We’re looking for things like t-shirts and sweaters for ladies and children, toiletries, non-perishable food items, books and magazines as well as toys,” said Szyszka.

Donations can be dropped off at REaction Marketing and Sign A Rama office, located at #11, 7727 Gaetz Ave. (across from Totem).

These packages will be assembled by [engage] for delivery to CAWES the week of Dec. 13.

“The Christmas season is all about giving and giving back to your community so we really look forward to delivering these gifts,” said Szyszka.

For more information and a wish list of items visit www.facebook.com/engagealberta.