The countdown is on for Santa to deliver gifts for children in need in Regina on Thursday night.
Helping him collect those much-needed toys are volunteers with Women of the Dawn Counselling Centre in the North Central neighbourhood.
“What we need most right now is toys, candy and extra money so we can buy extra food for our dinner,” said volunteer Joanne Lerat.
The donations support the centre’s annual Christmas benefit where families receive a visit from Santa, a special gift wrapped for each child and a traditional turkey dinner at St. Mary’s Anglican Church.
“It’s just so great to see our kids excited and happy to see Santa Claus … it’s just beautiful to see their little faces,” Lerat said.
Lerat noted they’re still urgently trying to get enough toys dropped off for children ages six to 12.
All donations should be left unwrapped and can be dropped off at the centre, 3026 Dewdney Avenue, or by calling 306-522-1994.
“Our list was full and we just don’t have enough to go around,” said volunteer Joanne Lerat.
While the project aims to accommodate around 300 children, not all of whom attend the benefit, that number jumped closer to 500 this year.
“I try my best every year not to turn anyone away, but in the end I had to because our list was full and we just don’t have enough to go around,” said Lerat, adding she still had people phoning to register children just one day earlier.
“It’s just overwhelming. But we do our best to help the people who are in the neighbourhood.”
Over the past two decades, Project Kid Care has delivered 7,400 gifts and fed more than 10,000 people.
Women of the Dawn operates as a drop-in for anyone to use its services, providing programs for family violence, residential school survivors, cultural awareness, pre-employment training and family support.
The centre also runs a Come and Eat program from May to October that hosts a twice-weekly barbecue for youth age five to 18.