Once again, thousands of volunteers will come to Santas Depot as 630 CHED Santas Anonymous works to make sure every child in Edmonton has a gift to open on Christmas morning.
This year, the charity is expecting to help around 20,000 children.
Executive director Angel Benedict says about 3,000 people will volunteer around 14,000 hours to help the charity deliver the spirit of Christmas this year.
“We have an amazing group of volunteers that come back year over year,” she said. “Some have been with us for 57 years, as well as new families. A lot of people come in and they want to build it into their Christmas tradition.”
Santas provides gifts for children up to 12 years old. While all donations are appreciated, the charity typically needs gifts for children less than a year old or between seven and 12 years old.
“You want to be able to see the whole family partake in that season of festivities and receive these wonderful gifts,” Benedict said.
Each child will receive a gift bag that has two toys, a book and a soft item like a stuffed animal or a blanket. Every family will also receive a stocking stuffer for each child.
When choosing a gift for Santas, play value is more important to consider than price, Benedict added.
“They say that play is a child’s job and when you see a child shaking a rattle or pushing those buttons on their toy, they’re actually developing some really important skills that they’re going to use later in life when it comes to putting on their shoes or when it comes to tying up their shoelaces or zipping up a jacket.“
For the older kids, good gift ideas are things like craft kits, LEGO sets and board games.
Normally people must be 16 and older to volunteer at Santas, but this year kids aged eight to 15 will be able to come with an adult on select Sundays.
Volunteers can sign up on Santas’ website.