It’s no secret that Santa needs some help delivering gifts to every family in Fort Macleod.
That’s why Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre every year sponsors a Secret Santa program to ensure Christmas morning dawns bright for everyone.
“Based on feedback we have received from families in the past, it helps struggling parents feel less inadequate,” Kids First director Susan Simpson noted. “Many of these parents sacrifice things for themselves in order to provide for their children’s most basic needs.”
“Christmas comes along and meagre resources simply will not stretch to cover the cost of gifts for the children.”
The Secret Santa programs delivers gifts to every member of a low-income family to ensure Christmas morning dawns bright.
Last year Kids First provided gifts for 50 families through the Secret Santa program, up from 41 families in 2011.
“I have seen parents so visibly relieved that their entire presence becomes stronger, they seem just a bit taller, they walk just a little more confidently,” Simpson added. “All because someone in their community cared enough for them and their family to offer a helping hand — a priceless gift for any parent.”
People have the option of “adopting” a family and buying gifts for all the members, or simply donate a gift or cash.
If people are stumped on what gifts to buy, Kids First recommends choosing gift cards, particularly for those hard-to-buy-for teenagers.
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.
Families can register for the Secret Santa program through the schools or an agency such as Family and Community Support Services or Mental Health.
“It is not unusual for a family that is on the list one year to offer help in another year, when they are in a better financial situation, the recipient becoming the giver and a community caring for and supporting their own,” Simpson said.
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. 6.
“Our Secret Santa program shows us the best face of our community as people, families, businesses and service groups step up year after year to help.,” Simpson added. “With all the struggles that we see throughout the year it is such a blessing for us to witness this generosity and we feel honoured to be part of the process.”