It seems like the Christmas season comes earlier and earlier each year. Fresh from honouring our veterans, many St. Albertans are no doubt beginning to turn their attention toward decking the halls, brainstorming Christmas gifts for their loved ones and thinking about how they can give back to the community.
While volunteering is a year-round activity, the Christmas season presents some unique opportunities to get involved, such as by volunteering for the Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle campaign or donating to the Kinette's Christmas hamper program.
One such opportunity passed Tuesday morning, when the St. Albert Housing Society held its annual breakfast fundraiser. Individuals who attended heard from guest speaker Dean Kurpjuweit, the executive director for the Mustard Seed and a St. Albert resident, about the lack of resources in St. Albert for people who are homeless or who are experiencing housing difficulties – people who are part of our city regardless of their housing situation.
As for those Christmas kettles, whether you donate your time for a Kettle shift or put a few dollars in one of those kettles (or both), the reward is knowing you are helping to fund programs that provide gifts, coats and breakfasts to kids in the community – to name a few.
The importance of fundraisers like these cannot be understated, nor can the value that comes from organizations like the Salvation Army and Housing Society. These organizations are made up of people who every day make our city a little better, by extending a hand to someone in need, putting a coat on the back of someone who is cold, sharing joy with kids through donated Christmas presents or feeding a family who has to choose between buying groceries or paying the heating bill.
Many of us will never know the fear of spending a winter without a home or without the ability to feed our loved ones. But some of us know all too well the desperate feeling that comes along with that situation. All of us who have the power to do so bear a responsibility to reach out to those who are in that situation and make their lives a little easier, regardless of whether we have walked in their shoes or not.
So for those of us who roll our eyes when we hear Christmas music playing in November, or shake our heads at the Christmas displays that start going up in stores shortly after (and sometimes before) Halloween, events like the Housing Society’s breakfast are a sober reminder of what this season is truly about. It’s about giving, spreading love and joy, sharing your wealth or your time with the many people in St. Albert who need your help – and it’s never too early for that season to start.