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Kids First is helping Secret Santa deliver

The number of people in Fort Macleod who need a visit from Secret Santa is expected to grow this year.
Organizers of the Secret Santa program are confident the needs of every family that requires help will be met.
“The generosity of people in Fort Macleod is just amazing,” Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre director Susan Simpson said. “I’ve seen it over and over in Fort Macleod. It’s really different than in other places I’ve lived.”
Fort Macleod residents are so willing to sponsor a family to make sure there are presents under the tree Christmas morning that they registered before Kids First had any families signed up.
Now that the 2010 program is rolling Kids First has 26 families registered for Secret Santa and Simpson expects that total to exceed the 43 families who were helped last year.
“Every year the community has become more and more aware of the Secret Santa program,” Simpson said. “On both ends there is a better response.”
Difficult economic times combined with Fort Macleod’s ongoing reality of a large number of people living in poverty means a program such as Secret Santa is important.
“We have to put our judgement aside and just consider what it is like for anyone in any circumstances to not be able to provide for their kids,” Simpson said. “Or just feel for the kids.”
The Secret Santa programs delivers gifts to every member of a low-income family to ensure Christmas morning dawns bright.
Kids First provides ages and gender of the family members to the sponsor. The shopping is left up to the sponsor.
For people who do not want to sponsor a family but still wish to help, Kids First has drop-boxes placed around town where people can leave unwrapped gifts for the Secret Santa program.
Kid First will also accept cash donations.
Students at F.P. Walshe school and G.R. Davis school are also collecting gifts for the Secret Santa program.
“The staff is trying to foster the spirit of generosity in the kids,” Simpson noted.
Families can register for the Secret Santa program through the schools, an agency such as Family and Community Support Services or Mental Health, or by calling Kids First at 403-553-5354.
People who know a family who needs help are also encouraged to register them with Kids First.
The program has a deadline for donations of Friday, Dec. 10.
Kids First staff and its volunteers are optimistic Secret Santa can deliver this year to all the needy families in Fort Macleod.
“There is something about the emotion involved in Christmas that brings out the best in people,” Simpson said.

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