By Kalinowski, Tim on November 2, 2019.
Five local agencies will once again be teaming up to make Christmas special for those in need in the community.
The Lethbridge Food Bank, the Interfaith Food Bank, the Salvation Army, Lethbridge Family Services Angel Tree and My City Care Shop of Wonders will be working collectively to gather presents, toys and food to distribute to 2,000 local adults and 4,000 children this holiday season through their “Christmas Hope” campaign.
Christmas is a financial strain for many families in the community, stated Danielle McIntyre, executive director with the Interfaith Foodbank Society of Lethbridge, and if the Christmas hampers provided by both the Interfaith and Lethbridge Food Banks can take that burden off – then that is what they are going to do, she said. McIntyre hoped for broad support from the community.
“We always refer to the relief we see in families’ faces,” she said. “When they know they are going to have what they need to make Christmas special at home for their families, it makes us feel good that we are able to pass on that love and generosity from the community; especially for the little ones.”
Not only does it represent comfort in body, the distribution of toys and food also brings comfort to the spirit, stated Sandra Mintz, CEO of Lethbridge Family Services, whose Angel Tree program benefits about 2,200 families Lethbridge and surrounding communities.
“We think of Christmas as a very happy and joyous time, but it is isn’t experienced that way by everybody,” Mintz acknowledged. “And for quite a few families who are struggling, Christmas actually adversely affects their mental health. So this isn’t just about making sure that children and youth from struggling families have something nice to open on Christmas morning, it is also about attending to their parents’ mental health and the strain families do come under over the Christmas season.”
And the best thing, said Lynn Hornberger of the Salvation Army, is being able to deliver to these struggling families a very special holiday offering when everything is put together.
“I have literally seen families in tears,” she said, “and just so grateful they are able to give that Christmas to their children. I have had families who have said: ‘Without this, we would have had nothing.’ This is just a blessing to them.”
Those wishing to know more about how to help out with “Christmas Hope,” or to learn more about how to access these services from the partner agencies, visit http://www.ChristmasHope.ca.
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