October 24th, 2020

Local groups surpass goal for Christmas Hope

By Mabell, Dave on January 3, 2020.

Lethbridge Herald

Their goal was to help 6,000 Lethbridge people at Christmas.

But five collaborating agencies did better than that, thanks to support from the community.

The city’s Christmas Hope partnership says 6,155 children or adults received toys or food supplies last month.

A total of 1,439 households received food hampers, they report – including “Christmas fixings.” And more than 4,263 children received toy bundles.

Thanks to support from members of the community, they add, 1,892 adults and 4,263 children were assisted. The non-profit groups were prepared to serve 2,000 adults and 4,000 children.

The Christmas Hope campaign is a collaboration of five Lethbridge agencies – the Lethbridge Food Bank, Interfaith Food Bank, Salvation Army, Lethbridge Family Services “Angel Tree” program and My City Care Shop of Wonders – that work together during the lead-up to Christmas.

“Working in partnership seems to be having the best impact, not only for our donors but for the families we’re here to help,” says Danielle McIntyre, executive director with Interfaith Food Bank.

“When each agency can focus on what they do best, we are really able to stretch our resources, and we are able to provide a more consistent and festive experience for those we serve.”

Streamlining the Christmas Hope registration procedures allowed the five agencies to increase the quality of support provided to local families, organizers say, while also limiting duplication of services. That proved particularly helpful for toy distribution agencies, they add.

“The holiday season is one of the busiest times for our organizations,” points out Maral Kiani Tari, executive director with Lethbridge Food Bank.

“Cold months in combination with the Christmas season can be expensive for our clients, which is why we see an increased demand at our agencies.

“Many of our families only require our help for November, December and January while they do well on their own the rest of the year.”

While organizers are grateful for community members’ support, they say each agency will need ongoing support throughout 2020 to continue their support programs for local families. Donations are accepted by each agency year-round.

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