Santas Anonymous helps 30 more families than last year

Leader staff

For Christmas 2020, 204 Slave Lake and area families received food hampers and presents for their kids. This is 30 more than in 2019.

In 2019, 174 households received Christmas hampers, says a January 8, 2020 Leader article. These families included 331 children.

Since at least the 1980s, the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre has run Santas Anonymous. This program provides a food hamper with the ingredients for a turkey dinner and presents for children to people in need.

The number of children this year also increased.

In 2020, 347 children received presents through Santas Anonymous, says Barb Courtorielle, Friendship Centre executive director. They are aged two months to 17. All of the children received two to three gifts.

The Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre spent $27,808 on groceries and around $7,000 on gifts. There were also gifts donated.

Revolution Ford did its annual Santa’s Sleigh fundraiser, with Manitoulin Transport and other companies contributing.

Zander Smith (11) collected toys for the third year. Last year, he told the Leader he started fundraising for Santas Anonymous to “make sure every child had a toy for Christmas.”

These are just two of the Santas Anonymous fundraisers that happened this year.

As recently as Dec. 29, Santas Anonymous received $1,000 worth of donations.

The total cost was $32,808. Total donations as of Dec. 30 were $30,919. This left $1,889 to cover the cost of the program.

The Friendship Centre is still accepting donations.

Friendship Centre staff and volunteers prepare the Santas Anonymous food hampers on Dec. 21.

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