Officials with the Red Deer Christmas Bureau anticipate a busy season and are expecting the need to be larger this year than those in previous years.
“This year I think we’re going to have an increase over last year just because of the number of families we have seen come in and apply to the program up to this point,” said Teresa Kutynec, president at the Red Deer Christmas Bureau. “But we know that Red Deerians are the most generous people and whenever we call for a need, they are there. They are fantastic to us.”
Applications are already being accepted and as of last Friday, 225 families had applied for this year’s program. Applications are accepted until Dec. 17th.
“Our clients started shopping for Christmas gifts on Monday,” said Kutynec.
With the generosity of Red Deerians, the Christmas Bureau provided 980 children with toys and also handed out 946 Christmas food 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, fresh vegetables, canned vegetables, some fruit and Jell-O, among others.
Kutynec 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. You have the opportunity to help out your own neighbours potentially. Of course we always have overhead like everyone else, but we have terrific volunteers and we’re always looking for more.”
Donations are still needed to help ensure every family has something under the tree this holiday season.
The Christmas Bureau is always short of gifts for teenagers – both male and female, said Kutynec.
Cash donations are also welcome because it allows the Christmas Bureau to purchase gifts that they are in need of. Cash donations can be given at the Christmas Bureau’s headquarters or online at www.canadahelps.org. Tax deductable receipts are available as well.
Kutynec added donating to the Christmas Bureau can be something that families can do together this holiday season.
“I think it teaches your children that there are others out there that don’t always get what you do. I always encourage kids to be involved in the shopping,” she said. “It’s good to give back – even if it’s one item – it still makes a huge difference in other children’s lives.”
Meanwhile, the Christmas Bureau has a number of fundraising events on the horizon including Stuff-A-Bus which takes place this weekend at Parkland Mall, the Charity Check Stop that will run Nov. 29th on Taylor Dr. north of 32 St., and the Toque Toss at the Rebels game on Dec. 5th.
For more information visit at 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.