The Festival of Trees is still looking for volunteers to help kick off Red Deer’s holiday season.
This year, the annual event will be held Nov. 14 to 28 at Bower Place shopping mall, inside the former Sears location.
Manon Therriault, Red Deer Regional Hospital Foundation CEO, said the large space allows for social distancing, and masks will be mandatory to keep volunteers and visitors safe.
“We’re doing everything we can to provide a safe environment, all while preserving the Festival of Trees tradition,” Therriault said.
She said participating as a volunteer, or visitor, at an event that is so festive, will definitely help spread Christmas cheer this year, when people may not be able to visit with family members.
Children’s activities will remain part of the festival. Every game will be safe, plus Santa will be onsite for kids to safely talk to and for photos.
“We will have a real Santa at the festival this year. We’ve found a really creative way for kids to come and see Santa,” said Therriault.
Volunteers play an integral role in the success of Festival of Trees, whether they are working behind the scenes during setup, or during the festival. People can volunteer for one shift, or several.
This year, volunteers are also needed to prepare, or deliver, gala boxes to sponsors, which is perfect for those who prefer not to be at the festival site, she said.
“That’s a really great opportunity for volunteers to participate.”
She said for those who prefer to enjoy the Festival of Trees from the comfort of their own home, the trees and silent auction items will be on the Festival of Trees website for the full two weeks.
This year, money raised from the event will go to fund electronic fetal monitoring equipment.
Therriault said right now, the fetal monitoring information is tracked on paper. Giving birth can take hours, so a lot of information may be collected, and a lot of paper required.
The electronic system eliminates the paper and makes the information easier to access and store.
“What we’re most excited about is that we’re fundraising for this equipment not only at the Red Deer hospital, but at other rural sites in central Alberta.
“What that means is if a mother is in a rural site, not only can she be tracked electronically, but specialists from around the province are able to log in and provide their expertise online.”
The mother doesn’t have to be moved to a bigger hospital, or go without the service, Therriault said.
“It’s a very big deal for pregnant women across central Alberta.”
Visit www.reddeerfestivaloftrees.ca/volunteer to register as a Festival of Trees volunteer.