The empty shelves in Angel Tree’s workspace are an emotional sight for committee chair Trina Tymko.
“My eyes are red right now, we’ve had a really emotional couple of days, our shelves are empty, and we put so much excitement putting together these gift packages because we care deeply for all of these children,” she added.
Lethbridge Family Service’s Angel Tree campaign is working hard to meet demand from Lethbridge and the surrounding communities as many families prepare for their second pandemic Christmas.
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“Our toy donations are lower than ever, and the monetary donations, unfortunately, are quite low,” said Tymko.
The organization is tasked with serving a large number of children and families this season, more than ever.
The total number of children in need this year is 3,228 according to Tymko, adding that the number of families who have been able to adopt is 98, a number that is an unfortunate all-time high for the charity.
The Angel Tree is still looking for gifts for about 800 children, leaving a great void just before the holidays.
Interfaith Food Bank, another organization involved with the Christmas hope campaign, is experiencing some unique challenges this year.
“I think a lot of people are struggling, a lot of people are still or have exhausted those temporary emergency supports,” said Danielle McIntyre of the food bank.
“We still see business closures or businesses that are still trying to recover after the pandemic disruption and then of course things like inflation and the loss of two highways in recent weeks have really disrupted our normal operations. “
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McIntyre said food donations have generally declined, but monetary donations are making it possible to provide Christmas food baskets, as the food bank can stretch a dollar with bulk purchases.
The toy side is a much bigger fight and Tymko said they need the community to act fast.
“(We need donations) right now and (don’t) wait until December 24, while you are shopping buy something extra,” he explained, adding that many people will give at the last minute, which is still appreciated, but with the resources . have, some children will not receive the gift in time for Christmas.
If you’ve already done your Christmas shopping, you can donate online to various charities, including Angel Tree, on the right here.
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