It only took eight minutes for Sharla Campbell, FCSS Coordinator – City of Wetaskiwin, to outline the procedures for Secret Santa until the 150 volunteers left the Drill Hall with a good feeling on December 16th, 2014. It was the joyous occasion of the annual Secret Santa delivery of food hampers and gifts to families in need. Armed with GPSs, maps and a geographical knowledge of the City, the volunteers ventured out into a winter evening carrying armfuls of gifts to share with others so they too, could enjoy a more enjoyable Christmas.
It was gratifying to note that the need for hampers declined and the number of volunteers increased from the previous year. As Sharla described, “This year we had 160 applications for Secret Santa hampers, which is a little lower than previous years. Over the years applications have varied from the 160s to 220.”
The community was very generous. “We have had a huge amount of support from the community. Toy and cash donations came in from a wide variety of businesses, organizations and individuals. There are too many to name and many donate anonymously, so we don’t even know who to thank! This kind of support is what assists this program to help those in need in our community.
We greatly appreciate the continued support from Parkland Fertilizer, who take a whole day for their staff to volunteer to sort and bag all of the toys for delivery night. We also appreciate the volunteer spirit of the Boys & Girls Club and Horizon Centre for doing toy pick-ups from the community toy collection boxes. Volunteers from Horizon Centre also assisted with the final hamper assembly, getting everything ready for delivery last night (December 16th). We had over 150 volunteers come out to help deliver the hampers throughout the City and they did an awesome job. The hampers were all out the door in eight minutes and delivered in just over one hour.”
Sharla was moved by a good news story. “One good news story that I would like to share that happened this year is that one of the hampers that was to be picked up by someone living out in the County, wasn’t picked up. I called to see if they were coming and was told that they had tried to get a message to us to let us know that they wouldn’t need their hamper after all. They had received some unexpected help and felt that they didn’t need the Secret Santa hamper and wanted to have it go to someone who may be more in need than they are.”
Talk about the needy sharing with the needy. What can you say except, “Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”
For more information contact Sharla Campbell City of Wetaskiwin FCSS, Volunteer Services. Phone: (780) 361-4425 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured: Emileo Rizzuto & Logan Goofers join 150 volunteers in the Secret Santa Campaign this year. Photo by Barry McDonald