It’s never been done before in Red Deer, and at the end of it Lynn Iviney expects to be crying for one of two reasons.
If it’s a success, she’ll be crying. If it’s not, she’ll be crying. But there are good signs in the community that it’ll be tears of joy when all is said and done.
Iviney, Christmas Wish Breakfast chair, said Thursday that she’s had a lot of interest in the event, including many people offering to volunteer.
The event, to be held from 8 to 11 a.m. on Sunday at the Black Knight Inn, involves a hot breakfast being served in exchange for the donation of a new present for a child.
A very successful Christmas Wish breakfast event that began about 30 years ago in Vancouver, and which Iviney once participated in, was the seed for her idea to establish something similar in Red Deer.
Iviney, who is thankful she’s backed by a strong local organizing committee, said the hope is that the event will tap into people who might not normally donate to the local Christmas Bureau or Salvation Army programs that help people in need at Christmas.
The gifts that come in on Sunday — and word has it that Red Deer firefighters will be arriving with some to the tune of bagpipes — will be passed along to the Christmas Bureau and Sally Ann. The two charities served a record 4,500 people last year, and it could be even higher this year given the tough economic climate in Alberta.
The gifts should not be wrapped. Besides toys and other things, they can include donations like gift cards, tickets to concerts, or even cash donations to the two agencies. No stuffed animals please.
There will be entertainment including the Hearts of Harmony, Wild Rose Harmonizers and Soliloquay. Santa will be there, as will the Red Deer Rebels Wooly Bully.
Iviney said they haven’t needed additional volunteers because the three main sponsors, the Black Knight Inn, Stantec and IFR workwear, will be helping out.