It’s a wrap on another delivery weekend for 630 CHED Santas Anonymous. Volunteers cheered as the last package went out the door just after 11 a.m. Sunday morning.
About a dozen people were waiting to kick-off day two of delivery weekend, with about 1,000 packages leftover from the previous day.
Executive director, Lana Nordlund, made sure everyone who turned up to spread Christmas cheer was able to deliver at least one present.
The conclusion of the deliveries means about 24,000 children from 9,000 Edmonton families now have presents under the tree.
As always, Nordlund was blown away by the Christmas spirit that delivery weekend brings.
“The generosity and the kindness of everybody to each other — even the Grinch — was fabulous!” she said.
“We really appreciate it, it’s fabulous. Thank you so much. Thank you so, so much.”
On Saturday, hundreds of Edmontonians were lined up outside the Santas Anonymous warehouse to help deliver the approximately 9,000 packages that went out on day one.
According to Nordlund, the weekend is always a whirlwind of Christmas cheer and activity from the moment she arrives early Saturday morning.
“I crank the Christmas tunes, look around… I’m the only one here and it’s like: on your mark, get set! And people start coming in and they don’t stop, and they don’t stop, and regrettably we have to turn some away,” she said. “And now we applaud as the last bags leave.”
Nordlund adds that if you’re waiting for a package from Santas, drivers have until 6 p.m. Sunday to make their deliveries, so it may be on the way.
One Edmonton city councillor was on hand for delivery weekend and said 630 CHED Santas Anonymous holds a special place in his heart.
Aaron Paquette said Santas made Christmas happen one year for him.
Paquette, who represents Ward 4, is grateful to everyone who contributes but encourages everyone to participate in delivery weekend. He said what you receive from volunteering is better than any gift you can imagine.
“It’s the delivery part that’s really going to help you remember why we have the season, why we have Christmas, why we have this moment where we all pause and remember that the greatest joy in life is to give.”
Paquette also said you never know when you’ll need a helping hand, so it feels good to give back during the holiday season.
“The fact that we can do the same for someone else as well is, to me, what makes a community strong,” Paquette said. “I think that Santas Anonymous, it’s been there for most of our lives… It’s just a really good indication of who we are as a city.”
Paquette was just four years old, but he still remembers the love and warmth of a delivery from Santas.
Watch below: Hundreds of Edmontonians lined up Saturday for the chance to help deliver Christmas cheer to children in our city in need as part of 630 CHED Santas Anonymous. Julia Wong has more.
And while delivery weekend has come and gone, the work for 630 CHED Santas Anonymous isn’t quite over.
Santas is also still in need of donations this week, particularly new, unopened toys for babies and toddlers. The group is also asking for books for kids between the ages of seven and nine.
And, while the Walk-In Program is the last chance you’ll have to contribute to Santas as far as this Christmas season goes, you can always offer support.
“We still take donations year-round, because we also help in disaster and crisis situations,” said Nordlund. “So the toys will not go to waste. And of course, we need a bit of a carry-over so we can start in early November, preparing the gifts for 2018!”
You can find more information on how you can help with this year’s Walk-In Program, and support Santas year-round, here.
— With files from 630 CHED’s Kyle Morris