SUNDRE – The community seems to have ramped up its support for the local annual Christmas hamper program.
“This year, we had a record amount of non-perishable food items donated by various community organizations, youth groups and food collection bins,” said Cherie Johnson, Sundre Santas program coordination.
Overall, there were 119 hampers prepared to provide some holiday help for about 300 people who registered with the program, Johnson wrote by email in response to follow-up questions.
“Toy donations were also accepted, allowing us to provide a small gift to all children (aged) 12 and under registered in the program,” she added.
And following a pandemic-induced hiatus of two years, the Magic of Christmas Sale – a popular draw for children who are eager to get into the spirit of gift giving – was finally able to return.
“Children had the opportunity to shop for their families at a very low cost, choosing items donated by the community,” she said, estimating that more than 900 gifts “went out the door.”
The non-profit, volunteer-driven initiative that is run under the umbrella of the Greenwood Neighbourhood Place Society involved an approximate accumulation of 1,000 documented hours.
“There are so many people who contribute in many different ways,” she said, expressing gratitude to everybody who pitched in.
Having served as the Sundre Santas coordinator for seven years, Johnson said she now intends to step down from that role to allow someone else the opportunity to take the lead.
Additionally, after setting up Santas Workshop for the past five years in the former Sundre Motors building on the north side of the Highway 27-Main Avenue corridor just east of the traffic lights, new digs are being sought out.
“Sundre Santas will also be looking for a new venue to occupy over a two-month period for the 2023 Christmas season,” she said, directing any potentially interested parties to contact the society’s office at 403-638-1011.
Johnson expressed confidence that the community’s ongoing support will help ensure the program remains vibrant well into the foreseeable future.
“I have met some really great people and feel like the Sundre Santas program is in a good place and it will continue to help individuals for years to come,” she said.