By Lethbridge Herald on November 13, 2020.
The Lethbridge Family Services annual Angel Tree campaign is bracing itself for a Christmas unlike any other in recent memory.
“We are anticipating an increase in need this year, for sure, because of the pandemic, and because we are in some difficult economic times,” said Sandra Mintz, CEO of Lethbridge Family Services, who was speaking at the official kickoff to the campaign at the Melcor Centre on Friday. “We know the community is really going to need us to come through this year.”
Mintz said they were projecting as many as 2,600 children and families, and possibly more, from throughout the region would need help from the campaign to make their Christmas season bright.
“We know that Christmas is a happy time,” she said. “It can also be a very stressful and unhappy time for far too many people. And parents, in particular, want to give their families a lovely Christmas. And when they are strained and stressed financially, and they are not able to do that, it really adds additional hardship to them, and it really impacts their mental health.
“So if we as a community are able to come together through this campaign to support those parents, and just to give them a little hand with making something special for their children for Christmas, it helps kids, it helps the parents, it helps the whole family.”
Mintz said with the heightened need in the community the Angel Tree campaign would also need more donors and volunteers to come forward to help make it a success for everyone. To make things easier, the Angel Tree campaign has moved everything online this year, and it is there that a virtual angel can be plucked from the tree with age and the wish of a local child in need inscribed upon it or a monetary donation can be made.
“Helping others is a wonderful way to help your own mental health,” said Mintz.
The registration process for families in need has also moved online this year, confirmed Angel Tree committee chair Trina Tymko.
“With having the website, it is a really great way for the parents to go to the website, sign their children up,” she said. “We know the need is greater so it is even more important to get the message out that this is how we can help you for those that really do need it.
“The part with it being with dignity and anonymity, is a huge part, and it is extremely important to Lethbridge Family Services that those are honoured for those families.”
“Everybody needs a little help once in a while,” she added, “and we really hope that those that do need it, ask for it. Because we are more than happy to help.”
To register to become a donor, volunteer or recipient with the Angel Tree campaign visit the Lethbridge Family Services website http://www.lfsfamily.ca.
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