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Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre seeks support for Secret Santa program

A Fort Macleod organization helping Santa Claus deliver on Christmas morning needs support.
Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre needs people to “adopt” 11 remaining families registered in the 2015 Secret Santa program.
“The families are so grateful,” Kids First director Susan Simpson said. “Some of the moms, when they come in to pick up the presents, have tears in their eyes, they’re just so grateful.”
“They see it as not really coming from Kids First. They see it as the community supporting them.”
The goal of Secret Santa is to ensure members of low-income families — children and adults — have gifts under the tree on Christmas morning.
People are welcome to “adopt” a family. Kids First will provide a list with the ages and gender of each family member, and the sponsor can buy gifts.
People who don’t want to look after an entire family are welcome to contribute cash donations, for which a charitable receipt can be issued.
Twenty-seven families are registered for Secret Santa this year, which is down from 41 in 2014.
Sixteen families had been adopted by Thursday.
“Most of the big ones have been adopted,” Simpson said.
Employees at some companies got together to sponsor families, agencies are providing support, and in once instance a group of women who are friends adopted a family.
“The ones that are left are either smaller families or medium-sized,” Simpson said. “As usual we do have some teenagers, but we do have some families with younger children left.”
There is no specific financial requirement to the Secret Santa program.
“Whatever you and your group, or you and your family, is going to do for this other family it’s going to be more than they would have had,” Simpson said. “It’s really up to you to decide what you’re going to spend. The families are going to be grateful for whatever they get.”
Families can register for the Secret Santa program until Friday, Dec. 4 through Family and Community Support Services, one of the schools or the Affordable Housing Program.
Kids First will sort donated gifts Monday, Dec. 14 and will shop with cash donations on Tuesday, Dec. 15, and parents will pick up from Dec. 16-18.
All donations to Secret Santa will go to the program through gifts or gift cards redeemable at local grocery stores.
“We always spend everything that is donated,” Simpson said. “There’s never any money left over from Secret Santa. You donate, it goes out to those families.”
Donations can be dropped off at the Kids First office in the Fort Macleod Health Centre or mailed to Kids First at P.O. Box 520, Fort Macleod, T0L 0L0 by Friday, Dec. 11.
Simpson is hopeful Fort Macleod, once again, will ensure Secret Santa meets the needs of local families.

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