June 24th, 2024

Local home builder helping put Christmas cheer under the tree


By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on December 2, 2022.

Herald photo by Ry Clarke Ashley Howe, with Avonlea Homes, fills her shopping cart with holiday gifts for Lethbridge Family Services Angel Tree Program Thursday morning at Toys R Us.

Volunteers from Avonlea Homes filled their shopping carts with Christmas gifts Thursday morning at Toys R Us next to Park Place Mall.

For the third year, Avonlea raised over $12,000 for the Lethbridge Family Services Angel Tree Program, which will provide around 625 gifts for children within the community, ages newborn to 18 years old.

“We hit out goal this year, it was an aggressive goal this year of $12,000. We are taking that money to Toys R Us here in Lethbridge to purchase gifts to provide to the Angel Tree program. That translates to about 625 toys,” said Ron Tyslau, customer experience manager at Avonlea. “The one thing we do every year is, we have a quote to go by. This year it was ‘Life’s persistent and most urgent question is, what are you doing for others?’ by Martin Luther King. That is something we said we have to do more for others. For many Christmas doesn’t exist, so this is one part of us adding a little bit of that cheer.”

Volunteers browsed the aisles with the aid of their angel cards to help select the perfect gifts for kids to receive on Christmas day.

“There are ideas on the back of the Angel Tree cut-out. We browse around and look for those gifts,” said Ashley Howe with Avonlea. “I am working the boys ages three to six, selecting Legos, books, board games. We are trying to stay in the $20 range. But if we get something for less, then we know that we can spend a little bit more.”

Fundraising for its third year, Avonlea has raised funds to help Angel Tree with its Christmas Campaign.

“In combination of all three years, we have managed to contribute over $27,000 and 1,400 toys,” said Tyslau. “You can still donate, just go to Lethbridge Family Services, or you can go to Avonlea Homes Facebook page. You can donate financially or you can donate gift cards, anything helps for all the kids.”

Understanding the financial burn many families face this time of year, donations like Avonlea’s help make sure everyone can enjoy a stress-free holiday season.

“It is very important because everyone is going through a rough time this year,” said Jessica Smith with Avonlea. “The last couple of years with the pandemic, there is a lot of people who can’t afford gifts. We feel it is really important to be able to give back to the community to buy gifts for those less fortunate.”

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