South Peace News
Young families and others less fortunate in the High Prairie region celebrated Christmas thanks to support from the community.
A total of 20 Christmas vouchers were delivered by Santa’s Little Helpers by High Prairie and District Children’s Resource Council.
Vouchers were handed out instead of Christmas hampers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Santa’s Little Helper program served 15 families with 41 children and five households without children, says Jessica Hesse, who chairs Santa’s Little Helpers and CRC charity services.
“The numbers did seem to be lower this year and it may be because of COVID-19,” Hesse says.
In 2019, the CRC distributed 31 hampers, which included 20 families with 46 children and 11 households without children.
“Usually we have a higher number of applicants,” Hesse says.
“It may be that people were worried to come into the office or were unable to.
“Other than that, we still spread the word, advertised, and helped people apply while socially distancing.”
Vouchers allowed recipients to buy groceries and supplies at Freson Bros. except items such and tobacco and lottery tickets.
Organizers and recipients valued the support from the community.
“We express a sincere thank-you to everyone who donated either toys, money, or time,” Hesse says.
“To see the community come together to help others, especially now in the pandemic, is so heartwarming.”
All funds and donations come from the wider community, she says.
One of the major supporters was Tolko Industries, which presented a cash donation, Hesse says.
Red Apple collected and donated toys valued at $9,834 and a monetary donation of $1,578 from the store’s fourth annual toy drive and Fill-a-Sleigh Day on Dec. 5.
The CRC also received numerous donations from community members and a donation from Freson Bros. for the vouchers.
“Everyone who donated deserves recognition and we appreciate them so much,” Hesse says.
She says the CRC is also grateful for the toy drive from Revolution Auto Group?
Players of High Prairie Red Wings junior hockey team and some of the family members distributed the vouchers and toys to families on Dec. 22, as they travelled in a bus from High Prairie School Division.