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Wrapping gifts to help Edmonton’s less fortunate during holiday season

Bissell Centre and Southgate Centre partner up to hold gift wrapping fundraiser for Edmonton's less fortunate, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Global News

There was a gift wrapping competition at a south Edmonton mall Tuesday morning to raise money for the less fortunate.

The “Gift Wrap-Off” is part of a month-long Christmas gift wrapping fundraiser held by the Bissell Centre and Southgate Centre, with all proceeds helping people in need over the holidays.

“It’s an awareness of people living on the streets during the holiday season and this is part of our month-long gift wrapping fundraiser where we’re raising funds to help people who are coming to Bissell Centre every single day,” Bissell Centre spokesperson Darren Brennan said.

READ MORE: Edmonton homelessness drops 24% in 2 years: Homeward Trust

The fundraiser runs until Dec. 24 and encourages Southgate shoppers to get their Christmas gifts wrapped by Bissell Elves and make a $2 donation per gift. The goal is to raise $10,000.

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“There is an increased need especially now with the temperatures dropping. We are seeing more people coming into our drop-in centre looking for warm clothing, looking for a warm meal, and so this fundraiser will help those people immediately,” Brennan said.

READ MORE: Calls for more Edmonton social housing instead of $2M homeless camp removal

Edmonton’s First Lady Sarah Chan, Olympic and World Champion Canadian figure skater Jamie Salé and Bissell Centre CEO Gary St. Amand participated in the “Gift Wrap-Off.”

The winner received a $500 gift card that they donated to the organization of their choice.

Homeward Trust’s biennial homeless count was conducted on Oct. 19 and found the number of homeless people in Edmonton has dropped 24 per cent since the last count in 2014.

However, Boyle Street Community Services said it had serious concerns about the figures based on the number of people using its services and what outreach teams have experienced.

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