Most families are back into their routines following the 2012 Christmas holiday season. There are many others that will continue to reflect back on the experiences of December 18th. This was the evening that, as Sharla Campbell, FCSS describes, “53 drivers registered to deliver hampers … as you saw, most of those registered had anywhere from 1 – 3 people with them helping out — so a safe estimate is probably around 150 people turned out to deliver”.
It was gratifying to note that the need for hampers declined and the number of volunteers increased from the previous year. In 2011, 204 hampers were delivered by 125 volunteers. This year, as Sharla explains, “We had a total of 198 hampers delivered by 150 volunteers. 112 hampers went to families with children who received a Christmas dinner certificate, box of oranges, tickets for the family to an Icemen Hockey game and toys for all their children. The children we helped this year totalled 285. 86 hampers went to adult-only households that are struggling at this time of year. They received the same items except the toys, of course.”
Prior to the event, Sharla Campbell, City of Wetaskiwin FCSS, Volunteer Services sent out an email. “Hi everyone — Secret Santa Delivery night is Tuesday, December 18th at 6:45 pm. If you are available to come out and help us out that would be greatly appreciated. It's a great volunteer event for families, friends and co-workers. Hope to see you at the Drill Hall. There is no pre-registration, just arrive at the Drill Hall and we will be grateful for your help.”
New in every hamper this year were Wetaskiwin Icemen Hockey Club tickets. In addition to the 150 people delivering the Secret Santa hampers, other volunteers included Horizon’s Centre and Parkland Fertilizer. Sharla expresses her thanks. “We want to give special recognition to Parkland Fertilizer and their staff for coming out on Monday to sort all of the toys and get them ready to send out. Their help is invaluable. I also want to thank the volunteers from Horizon's Centre that came to volunteer on Tuesday morning to assemble the food hampers and match them up with the bags of toys! We really appreciate all the help — none of this could happen without so many different people in our community contributing to make it all happen.”
It was an awesome year with toy donations covering all of the need for everyone that applied and cash donations have covered the costs for the Christmas Dinner certificates. As always, Wetaskiwin came through in a big way.
Armed with GPS’s, 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.