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Heart of Fort Macleod provides joy at Christmas

Students at W.A. Day school are thinking of others this Christmas season with a food drive in support of the Fort Macleod food bank. Last week students unloaded a truck filled with food donated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Bishop’s Storehouse.

The Heart of Fort Macleod will be on display this Christmas season.

Heart of Fort Macleod is a new program designed to ensure there are presents under every tree on Christmas morning.

“This program is very important,” explained Laura Pearce, a Grade 3 teacher at W.A. Day school. “It provides joy — for the families receiving and for those giving.”

“This year has been especially tough on a lot of families. If we can light up some faces on Christmas Day, our mission has been accomplished.”

Student Chase Nielson helps teacher Craig Patton unload food donated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Bishop’s Storehouse.

Heart of Fort Macleod is a “secret Santa” style program that is a partnership between the Town of Fort Macleod and the W.A. Day school Lighthouse team.

In previous years Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre operated the Secret Santa program in which people donated gifts that were distributed to families that needed a helping hand.

When changes to government funding revised Kids First’s mandate, the centre was no longer able to operate the Secret Santa program.

When she learned of the situation, Pearce was moved to write Fort Macleod council to gauge interest on the part of the town. The partnership was quickly formed.

So far, 25 families who need a little support this year have been nominated to receive gifts from the Heart of Fort Macleod.

The families were referred to Heart of Fort Macleod by people in the community, providing the ages of family members, hobbies and interests.

As people learned about Heart of Fort Macleod they were quick to provide support in the form of gifts and cash donations.

“We have been overwhelmed and overjoyed with the community support,” Pearce said. “I want to emphasize how truly grateful we are for all of the help we have received.”

Heart of Fort Macleod uses monetary donations to buy the gifts in town and support Fort Macleod businesses.

People interested in adopting a family have contacted Pearce or W.A. Day family liaison counsellor Shannon Fraser, and they match them with a family.

There are still four families waiting to be adopted. 

Gifts will be available for families to pick up Thursday, Dec. 17.

Calgary Family Peer Connections, which operates a food program in Fort Macleod, is also providing food for the families over the holidays.   

“We are deeply touched by the generosity of the community,” Pearce said. “The families receiving the gifts are very, very grateful.”

Anyone interested in adopting a family or contributing a gift or cash to the Heart of Fort Macleod program can contact Laura Pearce at pearcel@lrsd.ca or 403-894-8300, or Shannon Fraser at frasers@lrsd.ab.ca. or 403-795-1666.

Financial donations can also be dropped off with the Town of Fort Macleod at the G.R. Davis Administration Building.

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