Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff Hunter Schneider and his brother Anthony Haultain, of Red Deer, hand over some toys and food donations to Michelle Landry at Parkland Mall Saturday afternoon. Through the weekend the annual Red Deer Food Bank Society Stuff-A-Bus campaign took up residence in the shopping centre to gather food, cash, and toy donations for the food bank and the Red Deer Christmas Bureau.

Red Deer Christmas charities seeing more two-parent families

More first-time applicants as well

Agencies in Red Deer are seeing more first-time applicants and two-parent families this year as December’s busy march to help those in need at Christmas continues.

Major Larry Bridger of the Salvation Army said Monday they are seeing a significant increase in the number of families applying for help for the first time, as well as two-parent families.

They have close to 155 applications for Christmas hampers so far, which includes a few seniors, but mostly families, involving about 300 children. Last year, they had 220 applications involving about 400 children, Bridger said.

“The economy has impacted more households this year.”

The Salvation Army is still in need of individual, group or business sponsors willing to adopt a family, in particular those interested in helping smaller families of single parents with one or two children.

Friday is the last day that people can apply for help from the Salvation Army. Hampers will be delivered on Dec. 16 with the aid of volunteer ATCO gas employees.

Bridger said the Christmas kettle fundraising program is well underway and runs until Dec. 23. The goal is $220,000, and as of last week, they were about $1,000 ahead of this time last year.

Over at the Red Deer Christmas Bureau, Teresa Kutynec said they have 870 applications involving 936 children so far. In 2015 overall, the Christmas Bureau received 1,237 applications, involving 1,345 children.

The bureau is hoping to raise $175,000 and they will have a good handle on how much has been raised next week.

They are also seeing an increase in the number of two-parent families this year, perhaps because people’s employment insurance benefits are running out, Kutynec said.

In 2015 the Christmas Bureau saw a steep increase of over 300 applications from 2014, and she believes that 2016 will be similar.

The deadline to apply for a hamper from the Christmas Bureau is Dec. 15. Hampers are picked up by clients on Dec. 20 and 21.

Kutynec said she understands how difficult it can be for families to ask for help, especially if they never have before.

“It’s not something that they want to do but people get to a point where they have to. … December is a long month when you are not working.”

The Christmas Bureau, Salvation Army and Women’s Outreach agencies all work closely together to ensure that there is no duplication.

barr@reddeeradvocate

Just Posted

Hwy 2 backed up after morning collisions near Red Deer

Two collisions less than a kilometre apart on Hwy 2 south of Red Deer

Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair coming to Red Deer College’s Cenovus Learning Commons

Central Albertans can connect with employers on Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Brash, outspoken, opinionated — longtime hockey broadcaster Don Cherry… Continue reading

National security officials objected to stopping Ukraine aid

WASHINGTON — The view among the national security officials was unanimous: Military… Continue reading

Father of Broncos player who died says Alberta organ donation bill needs work

EDMONTON — The father of a Broncos hockey player whose organs were… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Wednesday Pain 101 class — learn to take control of your chronic… Continue reading

Election handed federal leaders a lesson in humility

Three weeks after the votes were counted, the point of the 2019… Continue reading

Opinion: Kenney plainly explains why Alberta deserves a fairer deal

By David Marsden It had been expected that Premier Jason Kenney would… Continue reading

Reflections on writing about the lives of Beckett, Beauvoir

“Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, and Me: A Memoir,” Nan… Continue reading

Ensign Energy Services slashes dividend in half, reports $37.8M Q3 loss

CALGARY — Ensign Energy Services Inc. cut its dividend in half due… Continue reading

Top teams in good shape as Euro qualifying reaches climax

With the Netherlands missing out on Euro 2016 and Italy absent from… Continue reading

Ricky Gervais returning to host the 2020 Golden Globe Awards

LOS ANGELES — Look out Hollywood, Ricky Gervais is returning to host… Continue reading

Family: Life is what happens …

As we crunch through November it seems the question on everybody’s lips,… Continue reading

Most Read