It’s no secret that the Fort Macleod community believes in a program that delivers gifts to needy families on Christmas morning.
Support remains strong for the Secret Santa program co-ordinated by Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre.
“I’ve lived a lot of different places and I have never seen what I see in Fort Macleod,” Kids First co-ordinator Susan Simpson said. “There’s a heart here. We take care of our own.”
Last year the Secret Santa program provided gifts to members of 41 families in Fort Macleod.
Twenty families have already been registered for the Secret Santa program, and the number is expect to rise to about 41 again this year.
With 14 families, groups or businesses already signed up to adopt a family Simpson is optimistic the need will be met in 2011.
“This has taken off to such a degree that people call me before we have any families registered,” Simpson explained. “It’s amazing, and exciting.”
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.
If people are stumped on what gifts to buy, Kids First recommends choosing gift cards, particularly for hard-to-buy-for teenagers.
While many people who wish to adopt a family enjoy buying gifts for young children, Simpson pointed out that teenagers deserve gifts under the Christmas tree as well.
“There are single moms out there with three and four teenagers who are barely making ends meet, if they are,” Simpson said. “Teenagers need Christmas too.”
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.
Drop-boxes are at The Macleod Gazette, ATB Financial, Chinook Credit Union, Family and Community Support Services, Fort Macleod Health Centre’s cafe, the library, and W.A. Day, G.R. Davis and F.P. Walshe schools.
Kid First will also accept cash donations.
Families can register for the Secret Santa program through the schools or an agency such as Family and Community Support Services or Mental Health.
People who know a family who needs help are also encouraged to register them with Kids First at 403-553-5354.
The program has a deadline for donations of Friday, Dec. 9.
Kids First staff and its volunteers are optimistic Secret Santa can deliver this year to all the needy families in Fort Macleod.
“Over the years, the Secret Santa program has taken on a life of its own,” Simpson said.