Toothbrushes, soap and markers are what hundreds of children at inner-city schools were excited about this week as TLC@Home made deliveries across Saskatoon.
They’re basic items to some, but to many Saskatoon kids, they’re cherished Christmas presents.
“Princess Alexandra is the heart of the city, we’re in the middle of the city and so lots of people come with different needs,” Sandra Youngchief, the community school coordinator at Princess Alexandra school, said.
“Some of (the students) don’t eat, and some of them, they don’t have Christmas, and some of them just need to know that people care,” TLC@Home founder Shelley James said.
Many of the children could be heard exclaiming “I got a toothbrush!” or “Look, I got soap!”
TLC@Home, which stands for Touching Lives of Children @ Home, is a local grassroots initiative started 12 years ago by James who wanted to help brighten up Christmas in the city for those who are less fortunate.
“This year I had one little dude be over the moon excited about getting a bag that he could keep things in,” James said.
Every single classroom at five elementary schools were reached by the campaign that fills shoeboxes for nearly 1,000 Saskatoon children in the city who might not otherwise get any Christmas presents.
James has watched the charity grow and expand now with multiple partners in the community, including Global Saskatoon, Cameco and the College Park Sobeys.
“For some of these kids this might be the only gift they get all season, so it’s so important for us to be involved in and it’s so rewarding when you see how happy the children are,” Global Saskatoon station manager Lisa Ford said.
A group of students from Holy Cross High School also came to help with the delivery.
“We usually help because we like to see other people happy rather than sad,” Holy Cross student Katelyn said.
And for the kids, it gives them a Christmas they won’t soon forget.
“I’ve had a lot of tears this morning and I usually do, it’s just overwhelming with Saskatoon, who are so generous to bring those things to our school,” Youngchief said.