By Kuhl, Nick on January 14, 2018.
Southern Alberta Newspapers – Milk River
Milk River and Coutts showed no shortage of generosity and love to those around them in December with their annual Christmas hamper and Angel Tree programs.
As the new year rang in and people looked back on the holiday, the Town of Milk River and the Village of Coutts also rejoiced in helping those in need by raising donations, food and gifts for those less fortunate within the area.
From local businesses, to out-of-town organizations and individuals with warm hearts, people were quick to offer helping hands, donations or gifts to make everyone’s Christmases a little brighter.
“The program this year went so well,” said Angel Tree program co-ordinator Darlene Fleming.
“We had people coming to help put hampers together as well as deliver the hampers and buy gifts for children on the tree.”
The annual Christmas hamper and Angel Tree Program is set up each year within the communities to help spread holiday cheer and help those in need.
A tree was set up in the town hall in Milk River that was home to 25 childrens’ names whose families couldn’t afford to give a gift this year.
The second part of the movement was the set up of a hamper members of the public could add donations to throughout the month, with all proceeds and donations made going towards families in need over the cold holiday season.
“We had Canada Border Services agencies and local colonies all donate a significant amount this year to the Christmas hamper,” said Fleming.
“We also had volunteers helping put hampers together and delivering them from ATCO Gas, local peace officers and even the Town’s CAO.”
However, it wasn’t only the Christmas hamper that brought the community together, but also the Angel Tree program, which saw members of the public taking all the angels off the tree within a week of them going up and buying gifts for the children the angels represented.
Fleming also added that although it isn’t out of character for the town to be quick to rally on buying the gifts for the children, this year like many others also saw people still donating extra gifts for the cause should they be needed.
“There were 25 kids that gifts were bought for, and although all the angels were taken off the tree within a week, a lot of people still wanted to help and continued to drop toys off at town hall throughout the season,” said Fleming.
“ATB actually came to me after all the angels had been taken off the tree to ask if they could help as well,” added Fleming on the continuous support that is offered each year over the duration of these programs.
With 25 families, and 25 children being helped with this year’s supportive programs, this January the communities can celebrate another successful season of helping those less fortunate.
Fleming added that it’s always a heartwarming experience to be a part of and to observe year after year as Christmas wraps up a little better for everyone within the area.
“The overwhelming amount and quality of gifts and donations that there was just goes to show that so many people really care and it warms my heart seeing all the generosity,” added a grateful Fleming.
“We are never short of food or toy donations at this time of the year.”
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