‘Tis the season for giving, and in Lethbridge, several holiday campaigns have already kicked off and according to organizers, demand has grown significantly.
This year, Jade Warf with My City Care said the need is bigger than ever before — meaning even more donations are needed this holiday season.
“It seems like every year the campaign doubles, and this year we need double what we had last year,” Warf said.
“We’ve got over 750 kids registered as of now and we’ll be helping more than 1,000 people this year, so the need is huge.”
Warf is currently working on the Shop of Wonders campaign which collects money and new toys to create a gift exchange experience for families in need.
With several empty shelves in the shop, Warf said so far, the donations coming in aren’t matching the need the program is seeing.
“Lots of stuff we have leftover from last year and that really helps us to kick-off the campaign, but there are definitely still spots to be filled this year.”
The Interfaith Food Bank is another charity also hoping to see more donations in the coming weeks.
Executive director Danielle McIntyre said the last year has been hard on food supplies. She credits the economy for the increased demand and decreased donations seen in the city.
“We’ve been hit by lower donations since the start of last year,” McIntyre said.
“We’ve haven’t yet seen our numbers, as far as donations, meeting what we were at prior to the recession.”
The Angel Tree Christmas Program is also looking for more donations this season.
The program collects toys to ensure all children across the city have a gift to open on Christmas day.
Michelle Galucci, director of advancement and communications with Lethbridge Family Services, said she also believes the economy is to blame for increased demand.
“It’s difficult and challenging economic times right now and we’re seeing the effects of that,” she said.
“We’re also trying to reach people that we’ve never reached before. We felt there was a gap in terms of need because asking for help is definitely a difficult thing to do, but we want to help everyone that has a need.”
Galucci said Angel Tree has seen positive support from the community but just like other organizations in the city, more donations are always needed.
“Gifts started coming in weeks ago, so we filled our room with gifts and it appears that we have a lot,” Galucci said.
“But this room has to be filled this full eight times so that we can properly gift bundle for our children.”
With three weeks left until Christmas, Galucci said she believes the people of Lethbridge will continue to give this holiday season; a sentiment McIntyre fully agrees with.
“Our community always comes through and I think that’s the faith we ride off of here,” McIntyre said.