'Tis the season of giving, but alas, 'tis also the season of financial stress and other emotional struggles all coming to a head at once.
That's real talk, but every sad bit of news offers a silver lining in the avenues where people can help make the season brighter and better for others, whether they are family, friends, neighbours, or even strangers.
The Gazette offers this Advent Calendar (PDF) as a reminder of the many organizations who work year-round to serve people in need. There are too many others to make it on to the list, of course, but the important message is, if you can, please give.
- St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village: This is the city's main organization for helping people put food on the table. The agency also acts as a one-stop shop of social supports. #30, 50 Bellerose Drive. Visit stalbertfoodbankandcommunityvillage.com or call 780-459-0599
- St. Albert Stop Abuse in Families Society: If there's any kind of abuse or violence in your life, SAIF is the place to call for help. Visit stopabuse.ca, email [email protected], or call 780-460-2195
- St. Albert Housing Society: Finding a place to live isn't always easy; finding a place to afford to live in St. Albert is tougher. This agency is the one to call for support. #104B, 14 Mission Avenue. Visit stalberthousing.com, email [email protected], or call 780-544-2205
- St. Albert Family Resource Centre: It's tough for families to grow strong together. This organization has so many programs and services to assist. #10A, 215 Carnegie Drive. Visit stalbertfrc.ca, email [email protected], or call 780-459-7377
- Transitions Rehabilitation Association of St. Albert and District: This non-profit supports adults with developmental disabilities. #100, 365 Carleton Drive. Visit transitions-ab.org, email [email protected], or call 780-458-7371.
- Salvation Army Church: The church's annual Christmas kettle campaign continues until Christmas. Look for kettle stations outside several shopping locations around the city. Proceeds go to support the church's community programs and services. 165 Liberton Drive. Visit stalbertsalvationarmy.ca or call 780-458-1937
- St. Albert Kinettes: This service club is right in the middle of its 55th annual Christmas hamper campaign to assist hundreds of local families with food and toys during the holiday season. The campaign will collect donations until Dec. 12. Visit stalbertkin.ca/kinette-club-1, email [email protected], or call 587-355-2137
- St. Albert Special Olympics: Sport is good for the body and soul. Special Olympics offers sporting opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities. Visit specialolympics.ca/alberta/st-albert or email: [email protected]
- Goodwill Industries of Alberta: The city's newest thrift store operates as a fundraiser for one of the largest employers of people with disabilities throughout Western Canada. The store and its donation dropoff are located at 730 St. Albert Tr., while another dropoff is in the south at 2530 Tudor Glen Market. 730 St Albert Trail. Visit goodwill.ab.ca/goodwill-location/st-albert-thrift-store-and-donation-centre or call 587-570-5684.
- Jessie's House: This is the first and only women's shelter in Morinville/St. Albert. The Jessica Martell Memorial Foundation also offers family violence outreach, case management, and court support. Visit jmmf.ca, email [email protected], or call 780-939-5289.
- LoSeCa Foundation: The organization whose name means Love, Service, Care offers programs and services for adults with developmental disabilities. It runs the I’m Unique Thrift Store to help fund its operations. #1, 215 Carnegie Drive. Visit loseca.ca or call 780-460-1400.
- Sturgeon Community Hospital Foundation: Do you like health care and the good people who work at the Sturgeon Community Hospital? Of course you do. These people need support to do their jobs better with new equipment and more. 201 Boudreau Road. Visit sturgeonhospitalfoundation.org, email [email protected], call 780-460-2195.
- St. Albert Sturgeon Hospice Association: This volunteer-run not-for-profit association is committed to providing access to the best palliative care in our community. #30, 50 Bellerose Drive. Visit sasha-cares.com, email [email protected], or call 587-921-1345.
- St. Albert Seniors Association: It's more than just a club; it's a way of life. This organization offers many programs and services to keep seniors active and healthy in their minds, bodies, and spirits. 7 Taché Street (Red Willow Place). Visit stalbertseniors.ca, email [email protected], or call 780-459-0433.
- Little Warriors: The more we talk about child sexual abuse and the more we help those who work to prevent it and also treat survivors of it, the better the world becomes. This organization works on all three of those fronts, and it works wonders. Its Be Brave Ranch is a miracle to many. Visit littlewarriors.ca, email [email protected], or call 780-922-9010.
- Strive 4 Work: This employment-focused program run by EmployAbilities is for individuals with disabilities in St. Albert and area. It offers eight weeks of online training and 10 weeks of work experience with the potential for employment to follow. Visit employabilities.ab.ca/programs-edmonton-and-greater-area-landing-page/strive-4-work, email [email protected], or call 780-777-5834.
- Arts and Heritage St. Albert: This organization acts as the steward of the city's heritage sites and runs the museum and gallery, offering cultural programming for all. #200, 20 Perron Street. Visit artsandheritage.ca, email [email protected], or call 780-459-1194.
- Kaleo Collective: The organization supports single mothers with various enrichment programs. #216, 3-11 Bellerose Drive. Visit kaleocollective.ca, email [email protected], or call 780-283-6262 (283-MAMA)
- NiGiNan Housing Ventures: This non-profit registered charity creates supportive and affordable housing for Indigenous people in Edmonton. 9629 106 Avenue (Ambrose Place) in Edmonton. Visit niginan.ca, email [email protected], or call 780-784-6150.
- St. Albert Community Foundation: This organization is all about giving back to the community. It provides opportunities for citizens to contribute to and invest in the long-term fulfillment of community needs. Its funds are granted out annually to be used to support worthwhile community projects organized by charitable organizations within the St. Albert area. Visit sacf.ca, email [email protected], or call 780-458-8351.
- Boys and Girls Club — Big Brothers Big Sisters: Young children need mentors and positive role models in their lives. This group makes that magic happen. Visit bgcbigs.ca, email [email protected], or call 780-424-8181.
- Edmonton Humane Society: The EHS loves animals. It offers adoptions and training, advocates on animal issues, and offers a Lost and Found to help get pets back to their owners. 13620 163 Street in Edmonton. Visit edmontonhumanesociety.com, email [email protected], or call 780-471-1774.
- Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society: Service dogs can help people with visual impairments or those who are on the Autism spectrum. Dogs with Wings trains these four-legged helpers, helping to foster integration and independence for individuals with disabilities in the process. 11343 174 Street in Edmonton. Visit dogswithwings.ca, email [email protected], or call 780-944-8011.
- Second Chance Animal Rescue Society: This organization promotes the humane care and protection of all animals, and works to prevent cruelty and suffering toward animals, too. It takes in as many homeless pets as its resources allow, and those animals in turn get spayed or neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped, and receive any other care they need. It typically has more than 200 animals in care at one time and it finds good homes for more than 2,000 every year. Visit scarscare.ca, email [email protected], or call 780-466-7227 (SCAR).