Red Deer charities helping similar numbers to 2015

Salvation Army, Women’s Outreach, Gifts for Grandparents meet the need

Red Deer Salvation Army Major Larry Bridger said their annual Christmas Adopt A Family program helped 179 families and 21 seniors this year, representing a total of 700 people including 408 children. The numbers are similar to last year.

This year there were a lot of people asking for help for the first time, and there was an increase in two-parent families and the number of adults overall.

The kettle program continues this week with about $146,000 of the $220,00 goal reached.

All the Sally Ann hampers were delivered on Friday with the volunteer help of ATCO employees. But before they get a bit of a break, the Salvation Army community dinner will take place on Christmas Day from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Bridger said they are expecting between 200 and 220 people. The charity will also deliver a Christmas Day meal to shut-ins. Call 403-346-2251 by Wednesday to arrange. Associate Cabs is once again offering free transportation for those needing a ride to the dinner. Call 403-343-3700.

Darcy Ouellet, fund development co-ordinator at the Women’s Outreach Centre said their Adopt A Family applications are up a bit from last year.

They have 197 single-parent families this year, which is up 14 families from last year. This includes 433 children. He was still expecting to see a few more last-minute applications.

Applications come from throughout Central Alberta, including Red Deer, Red Deer County and places such as Rocky Mountain House, Blackfalds, Lacombe, Ponoka, Penhold and Olds.

“As it stands, every family that we had in has been matched. We have not had to turn anybody away,” Ouellet said.

Liz Leinweber, volunteer co-ordinator for Family Services of Central Alberta, said their Gifts for Grandparents will have helped about 600 people when all is said and done, according to Leinweber. Last year they helped 608 people.

The number of neighbourhood referrals was up quite a bit this year, Leinweber said, adding she was very appreciate of the outstanding response from the community when it came to donations.

Seniors who are shut-ins or alone at Christmas receive gift bags that have a variety of items, such as tea, coffee, mittens and scarves, slippers, gift cards, toiletries, puzzle books and so on.

barr@www.reddeeradvocate.com