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Innisfail Christmas Bureau set to help in 2023

Local charity in Innisfail urgently needs new gifts for teenagers

INNISFAIL – The holiday season is always brightened by the work of the Innisfail Christmas Bureau since it began its loyal service to the community 41 years ago.

This year the organization, which is once again housed inside empty space near the west entrance at the Central Alberta Co-op Mall in Innisfail, will once again ensure hundreds of financially challenged citizens have a joyous holiday season.

But as always the Innisfail Christmas Bureau needs the community support.

Sue Haddow is the new donations coordinator for the bureau. She was at St. Mark’s Anglican Church on Nov. 23 to accept a $1,000 donation that was put together by the church’s congregation.

“The Christmas Bureau has been fortunate to have tremendous community support each year,” said Haddow. “Last year it enabled us to supply 348 individuals, including 156 children under the age of 19 with a generous Christmas hamper. This is a slight decrease of three per cent fewer recipients from the previous year.”

However, the bureau is appealing to the community to help fill the urgent need for new items to give teenagers.

Lynn Holinski, bureau chairperson, said securing those new items is the agency’s biggest challenge because it’s “really hard to know” the specific need at that age.

“Even if people wanted to give gift cards to Walmart or Bower Mall for that age group it’s a good fit for them,” said Holinski.

The following businesses are accepting new item donations: Pharmasave Jackson’s, Innisfail Home Hardware, Innisfail Dairy Queen, the Town of Innisfail administration building, The Lounge Salon & Spa Company, Canopy Salon & Spa, Harley’s Hutch, Field and Forge and The Coffee Cottage.

Registrations for families to receive holiday season support from the local Christmas Bureau began on Nov. 13 and will run until Dec. 13.

Families can register at the Central Alberta Co-op Mall Christmas bureau headquarters on Mondays from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“When people come in to register they're given an appointment to come to pick up their hampers for their kids,” said Holinski. “And we don't just do toys for the kids. Each family also gets a grocery card that will buy them their Christmas dinner.”

Citizens are asked to bring the following items for registration: Alberta Health Care card; last bank statement; proof of address and proof of income

Hamper fills at the Innisfail Christmas Bureau began on Nov. 23, with the final fill scheduled for Dec. 14.

Donations to the Innisfail Christmas Bureau can now be made by e-transfer and sent to [email protected].

And on Dec. 16 at the Innisfail Twin Arena the Innisfail Eagles Hockey Club is hosting its annual Toque and Mitten Toss.

“Every year they (Eagles) have supported us that way,” said Holinski. “It’s just the way their (Eagles) schedule works. We have a place to store things, and it's nice to have something to start up with next year.”


Johnnie Bachusky

About the Author: Johnnie Bachusky

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