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Red Deer Christmas Bureau expects huge increase in clients

Bureau moves to bigger building
Red Deer Christmas Bureau is accepting applications for assistance until Dec. 16. (Advocate file photo)

Red Deer Christmas Bureau anticipates more people will need help this holiday season as the cost of living continues to climb.

President Teresa Kutynec said last year fewer people needed the bureau while CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) was available, and Monday morning was busy at the bureau.

“It’s a tough go. We don’t have CERB this year, and most people will have exhausted all other avenues, so I’m sure we’re going to see a huge increase this year,” said Kutynec, who was also aware that new residents from Ukraine have already visited the bureau which provides a free Christmas food hamper with a turkey and more, and gifts for children for families in need.


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Last year gift cards for 1,008 families or individuals were given out instead of food hampers because of COVID restrictions. But this year food hampers are back, which families appreciate as grocery prices soar, she said.

She also encourages seniors and low-income individuals to sign up for a food hamper, which includes ham instead of turkey.

Last year the bureau provided toys and gifts to 750 children and youth, and volunteers made up 30 baskets for mothers with infants.

Kutynec said some toys are left over from last Christmas but more are needed, and the toy drive is officially underway to fill the shelves at the bureau.

“The price has gone up for toys. For us, that makes a huge difference when you have 750 kids. We sent our toy boxes out today to businesses and schools.”

She added that while toys for young children are always in demand, so are gifts for 10 to 17-year olds.


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This summer the bureau moved to a bigger building located at Bay #2, 4630 61st St. in Riverside Light Industrial, two blocks north of Central Alberta Co-op Home Centre in Red Deer.

“We have twice as much space. It’s great,” said Kutynec, who suggested clients and donors look for the bureau’s windows and door which have been decorated for Christmas.

She said the building has lots of room for social distancing. Masking is not required, but people can do so if they wish.

Red Deer Christmas Bureau is open Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information more call 403-347-2210.

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