The St. Albert Kinettes will have red drop-off boxes for donations to their Christmas Hamper campaign at the following locations:
- St. Albert Centre
- Riverside Honda
- Running Room
- Servus Place
- MVMT Physio
The one-day Fill-A-Bus event will take place at the following eight locations between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5:
- Pearson’s Your Independent Grocers
- Both Save On Foods locations
- Canadian Tire
The St. Albert Kinettes' 55th annual Christmas Hamper campaign is underway. It collects donations of food and toys to help hundreds of struggling families get through the last weeks of the year, which are often the most financially trying for people.
Tracy Nadiger, one of the co-chairs of the campaign, said the community is just as supportive as ever, and its team of volunteers is one of the most well-oiled machines this town has ever seen.
"We've got amazing support from the schools. A lot of them have signed up to do food drives for us. Our volunteer schedule is almost completely booked, including delivery drivers. It's been crazy good response that way, which is fantastic," she enthused, right before dropping a whopper of the campaign's main struggle.
"It's just that we don't have a location."
For an operation of this magnitude, the service club needs a home base in St. Albert of about 750 square metres or more. There just aren't a whole lot of empty buildings that size in the city. So far, their search has been fruitless.
"We're just not having any luck. That's a really big concern for us right now. Plan B would be to rent a space if someone wasn't willing to donate. We're trying to find a space to rent, and then plan C, I guess, would be we're not sure yet: maybe gift cards instead of all the food, etc."
Anyone who can help is asked to contact the Kinettes by calling 587-355-2137 or via email at [email protected].
Otherwise, the campaign is set to run in the usual manner with several red drop-off boxes at various shopping locations around the city. It's going to be a whirlwind of an effort before the hampers are all packed up and delivered to recipients on Sunday, Dec. 12. The one-day Fill-a-Bus campaign (put on by St. Albert Transit and its drivers through Diversified Transportation) will occur on Sunday, Dec. 5.
If you are in need of a hamper this year, the Kinettes ask that you contact any school or church in St. Albert, or any of the following agencies: St. Albert Food Bank, Stop Abuse in Families (SAIF), Big Brothers and Sisters, St. Albert Family Resource Centre, or the local AISH office.
The Kinettes also ask that any toy or food donations be made by Tuesday, Dec. 7. The campaign will also benefit from the city's Toys for Tickets program. Eligible parking tickets can be covered with the donation of a new toy. You can learn more about that by visiting the city's webpage on the program by searching for "Toys for Tickets" at stalbert.ca.As for the Kinettes themselves, they fully expect the community to step up and be as supportive as it can be in these difficult times. They haven't set a goal for what they hope to receive from the public; they're just happy for whatever people can offer to help their fellow citizens.
"We are just asking everybody to support us and help people that are in need. I think we're going to have lots of food and lots of toys," Nadiger added, noting that gift cards are always a great and easy gift idea, especially for the many teenagers who are on their Christmas list but aren't always the easiest to buy toys or gifts for.
And speaking of things that aren't easy, Nadiger couldn't help but put in one more reminder about the Kinettes' need for space.
"It's a little bit stressful. I'm not going to lie."
For more information, visit stalbertkin.ca/christmas-hamper-campaign.