An Edmonton organization is worried as many as 4,000 underprivileged teenagers will have to go without on Christmas morning.
Adopt-A-Teen provides $50 Walmart gift cards to teens in the city who are registered with the Christmas Bureau. The program ensures that all Edmonton teens are able to feel included at Christmas time, but the charity is struggling to meet that goal.
Andrea Peyton, the 2017 organizing committee chair, says donations are quite a bit slower than last year, so she’s hoping for a final push with Christmas just around the corner.
“Our goal this year is 7,800 teens,” she said. “We currently have raised enough to provide 3,741 teens with gift cards. We’re short about 4,000 teens.”
She explains that when it comes to Adopt-A-Teen, donations result in more than just a simple gift card.
“What we’re really giving these teens is a sense of belonging. It’s knowing that someone out there cares enough to give,” she explained. “One in eight Edmontonians live below the poverty line. And these could be people you work with, your children’s friends, somebody in your community – so you never know just who your gift is helping.”
The program has been running for 18 years and works alongside the Christmas Bureau and 630 CHED Santas Anonymous to ensure any Edmontonians in need can still celebrate a complete Christmas.
“They can take that gift card and they can purchase whatever they want to buy,” Peyton said.
“Whether it’s a gift for themselves, some choose to buy a gift for a sibling or a parent. It just gives them something to feel included at Christmas. Something so they know somebody cares about them.”
Peyton got involved with Adopt-A-Teen to help ensure all Edmonton residents in need are able to have a Merry Christmas. With the holidays so focused on younger children, it’s easy to forget that teenagers need the love too.
“My oldest niece is 13. And at 13, she is still way too young to not get something for Christmas,” said Peyton. “It actually breaks my heart to think of 13, 14, even 17 year olds not getting something for Christmas – even if it’s something as simple as a $50 gift card.”
On Dec. 22 and 23, Adopt-A-Teen will hold its walk-in weekend. Find out how you can donate here or make a donation by calling 780-414-7694 during office hours.
Between the three organizations, Adopt-A-Teen, the Christmas Bureau and 630 CHED Santas Anonymous, about 5000 Edmontonians are expected to receive some Christmas cheer this weekend.