The deadline to apply for a Red Deer Christmas Bureau food hamper and toys is Friday Dec. 16 and the volunteers are bracing for a busy day.
The bureau is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to take applications on Friday. Donna Durham, bureau board member and treasurer, encouraged people to come early because the final day to apply is always hectic.
“There will be a lineup,” said Durham who wanted to remind the community that the bureau moved a few months ago to a bigger building at Bay #2, 4630 61st St. in Riverside Light Industrial.
She said a fair number of applicants have gone to the former address.
Applicants should also remember to bring the necessary documents to apply: photo identification and Alberta Health Care Cards for each family member, a recent one-month bank statement, and proof of income for all adults and proof of residency. They should also bring an interpreter if necessary. For more details visit www.reddeerchristmasbureau.com or call 403-347-2210.
She said people may be reluctant to request assistance at Christmas, but volunteers working at reception are very empathetic, and parents can take the time that they need to chose the right gifts for their children.
“(Shopping) is special for them and our volunteers know that.”
So far 937 applicants have registered, and 729 children and youth will receive toys and gifts.
Durham said families started applying and shopping for toys in mid-November. Monday Dec. 19 is the last day for applicants to shop, and next week volunteers will begin assembling the food hampers for pickup.
“We’re very happy to do the hampers this year. We’re able to buy in bulk and it really does help. Save On Foods is helping us with the hampers this year.”
Hampers will include either meat, or non-meat items, based on the preference of the applicant.
Durham said fundraisers were a success this year with plenty of donations and she thanks all the individuals, businesses and service clubs that contributed.
“They’re making a big difference. They’re helping people have a good Christmas.”
New for the bureau this year is an online 50/50 Raffle Fundraiser to support its Christmas Food Hamper Program. The jackpot is $1,300 and the winner takes home half. The deadline for ticket sales is Jan. 12 and the draw will be held Jan. 13.