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Olds Christmas Angels donations down 'significantly'

Christmas cheer raffle tickets, other fundraisers planned
Christmas Angels booth
People stopped by to patronize the Christmas Angels booth during Midnight Madness in Olds on Nov. 19. Doug Collie/MVP Staff

OLDS — So far, donations to the Christmas Angels are “definitely down quite significantly” according to Claire Rosehill, the Angels’ volunteer coordinator. 

The volunteer group collects and delivers hampers filled with toys, food and gift cards to needy families in the community. 

Rosehill is hopeful those donations will pick up before Christmas, especially given the fact some fundraisers are still planned, including some generated by the community. 

She's also hopeful that people will step up and buy presents for needy residents as they have in the past. 

Rosehill also noted that when she was interviewed, she was anticipating some cheques still remained to be collected from donors. 

"At this point last year, we were significantly further towards our donation kind of – a normal donation goal and this year we’re just quite a bit lower than we expected,” she said. 

Rosehill was asked if she believes are down as a result of the effects of COVID-19 and a struggling economy.

"It very well could be," she said in an email. "We often find in years of crisis we have good support the year things are hard funny enough and then the next year tends to be more difficult."

"It’s always hard to gauge the level of needs, right? But we are anticipating it will be a difficult year and we will do at least as many – if not more – hampers than last year, which was 210, total,” Rosehill said. 

The Angels kicked off this year’s fundraising campaign during Midnight Madness on Nov. 19. They set up a table outside of Frayed Knot to sell smores and collect donations. 

Rosehill noted the Angels have organized a new initiative to raise money this year. 

"We are selling Christmas cheer raffle tickets. We have a limited number of those printed and the Angels are busy around town selling them,” she said. 

Tickets cost $10 each and can be purchased at Quiznos and Hildebrand Motors or through any of the Angels. 

Rosehill is also buoyed by the fact that virtually every year, local residents do their own fundraisers on behalf of the Angels. 

"The community is so great at always stepping up and often it’s not us that initiate these things, but still someone in the community will say, ‘hey, we’re just doing this and it’s all going to be in support of the Angels,’” she said. 

For example, on Dec. 3, the Olds Grizzlys Junior A hockey team is offering free admission to anyone who comes to their game that night with a toy donation to the Christmas Angels. 

Rosehill described that initiative as “awesome,” adding “we’re hoping that’s busy.” 

This year, the École Olds High School senior leadership team, along with members of the school's Interact Club, are helping out by hosting a Christmas Palooza for the Angels on Dec. 8.

At 7:15 a.m. that day in the school's Commons, community residents are invited to buy pizza boxes filled with a dozen sweet treats of their choice for $25 per box. A raffle will also be held and members of the Interact Club will be serving fair trade coffee. All proceeds go to the Angels.

On Nov. 26, ConnectFirst Credit Union held a frisbee toss at a Grizzly game and donated all the funds from that effort to the Christmas Angels. 

The group’s annual Stuff The Bus event will take place Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the Canadian Tire parking lot. 

In that fundraiser, residents are urged to stuff a bus parked there with donated Christmas toys which are later sorted according to age and gender. 

The Angel tag program is back for another year as well. 

Shoppers can obtain the tags, which contain a child’s age and their wish for Christmas, from trees at various local businesses listed on the Angels’ Facebook and Instagram pages. 

They’re asked to shop for that gift, and then return it unwrapped in any of the Angels’ barrel locations. 

The Christmas Angels’ hotline is once again set up for people who would like to register to obtain a Christmas hamper or refer the Angels to a needy family. That number is 403-415-9627. 

There are other ways to help too. 

"We are always looking for volunteers to participate in hamper stuffing or to help us with deliveries,” Rosehill said.