More families are signing up for Red Deer Salvation Army’s Christmas hamper program.
“We seem to be well ahead of previous years so far,” said Maj. Larry Bridger so more Adopt A Family sponsor are needed.
He said in the last week 77 families have signed up. Another 16 senior households applied for the Adopt A Senior program, which is fewer seniors than last year. Last year the programs helped 247 families and seniors.
People have to Dec. 13 to apply for the programs that match them with anonymous sponsors who provide gifts and food gift cards for Christmas.
Red Deer Christmas Bureau received about 450 applications over the last two weeks from families. Applications will continue to be accepted to Dec. 13.
Teresa Kutynec, president of the Red Deer Christmas Bureau, said so far demand is about the same as last year. It was pretty quiet until last Friday.
“People are thinking ahead when it comes to Christmas,” Kutynec said.
“It’s difficult. Rent is expensive. Utilities are expensive. A lot of people are doing two or three part-time jobs. There’s a lot of people that can’t seem to get a full-time position and get ahead.”
Last year 1,020 children received toys from the bureau, about the same as in 2017, but requests for food hampers were down. About 900 hampers were picked up last year compared to about 1,000 in 2017.
Clients started shopping for toys at the bureau on Monday. The majority of toys arrive at the bureau in December, but some toys donated last year were kept for clients who want to pick up toys early, she said.
“There’s 998 streets in Red Deer and we served just over 1,000 kids last year. So there’s a kid on every street in every street that needs help. People are giving to their neighbours.”
The bureau is need of toys and sleepwear for babies up to age three, as well as items like electronics, wallets, belts, remote cars and body spray for teenage boys, age 14 and up.
For Red Deer Christmas Bureau application information call 403-347-2210.
The Salvation Army can be reached at 403-346-2251, which is also in need of more Christmas Kettle volunteers.
Central Alberta Women’s Outreach also operates an Adopt A Family program for single parent families. For information call 403-347-2480.