What’s coming up at your Friendship Centre

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Things usually get busy at the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre as Christmas approaches and this year is no exception. Interim manager Lucille Cook tells us that application forms for the Santas Anonymous gift basket program are now available, and will be accepted up to noon on Dec. 12.
After that, a lot of work by a lot of volunteers (and staff, of course) will turn the donations for the program into gift baskets that will be delivered over three days – Dec. 18 – 20. That concludes the Christmas rush at the Centre; Cook says it’ll be closed after that until the first week of January to give staff a well-deserved break.
But before all that, there’s a seniors’ dinner on Saturday, Dec. 9. And before that, even is ‘Breakfast With Santa,’ a fundraiser mentioned elsewhere in this edition of The Leader.

Mat Program back on track
In other news, Barb Courtorielle was working last week to get the Mat Program overnight homeless shelter back up and running. She said insurance had been taken care of, one security guard hired, and “I’m just waiting for the keys.”
The shelter will be moving back to the old St. Peter’s Ecumenical Church building on 7th St. SE. Phil Lokken of the church board told The Leader last week the program had “actually worked quite well,” the two years it was held there. “We were asked by the Friendship Centre,” he says. “We had the space and we just felt if we could help out we would.”
Later in the week, Courtorielle said she planned to open the shelter on Saturday. She said she has funds for two months of operation, so obviously more donations are needed.

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