July 16th, 2024

Angel Tree ready to help the needy at Christmas

By Lethbridge Herald on October 18, 2023.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido Guzman Michelle Gallucci poses with a giant teddy bear after announcing the opening of applications for the Angel Tree campaign.

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

As the cost of living continues to rise, many are starting to wonder if they will be able to provide any Christmas presents for their children this year but Angel Tree is ready to help out those in need. 

The Lethbridge Family Services Angel Tree Christmas campaign has opened applications for families who require a helping hand during the holiday season. 

Angel Tree campaign director Michelle Gallucci told the Herald this week because Angel Tree is one of the agencies partnered up for Christmas Hope, when someone applies to receive toys, the application is checked against all the other agencies to avoid duplicates. 

“Christmas Hope includes six agencies – the Lethbridge Food Bank, the Interfaith Food Bank, My City Care Shop of Wonders, Salvation Army, Volunteer Lethbridge and Angel Tree. We all share a database so when we get registrations each one of us checks each individual child and family member to make sure that we’re not duplicating gifts,” said Gallucci. 

She said they also talk to social workers across Lethbridge and surrounding area, as well as to schools so everyone knows who is getting a gift and who isn’t.

“I’m really proud of that for Lethbridge because that has been about four years in the works, and we’ve perfected it last year. Sometimes a few people will slip through that, but we I say 99 per cent are duplicate- free,” said Gallucci. 

She said registration has opened not only for Angel Tree, but also for the Salvation Army and My City Care Shop of Wonders. 

“We opened Oct. 1 and we have over 800 registered children already, so we think that we’re going to top off at 3,800 children this year, which is 200 more than last year,” said Gallucci. 

She said something they are tying to do this year, as well as toy bundles for children, is to offer them food security. 

“This year Angel Tree is going to try to find enough donations to give 600 families President’s Choice and No Frills gift cards for food,” said Gallucci. 

She said during Thanksgiving she did the grocery shopping and could not believe the prices, and that had her thinking about how other families manage. 

“We want to be able to give a gift card to a family so they can say ‘let’s go buy one those roast chickens,’ or fruits and vegetables,” said Gallucci. 

She said the idea is to provide the gift cards along with the gift bundles for children up to 18 years old. 

“The gift bundles are worth about $75 to $100 each. In 90 per cent of the cases this is the only new gifts that these children will receive during the year, so that’s why we really treat them well,” said Gallucci. 

She said they try to provide the children with one item on their wish list, one thing that is soft and cuddly like a blanket or teddy bear, as well as something to keep them warm during the winter. 

“We want to give them toques, mittens, scarves which we’re really missing for 3,600 children. We want 3,600 children to receive these because we think it’s going to be a cold winter,” said Gallucci. 

She said they also want to give them something educational so Angel Tree needs books and science kits. They also want to give them something for their imagination and LEGO is always their go to. 

“We think Barbies are possibly going to be big this year, so we’ll need those too,” said Gallucci. 

She said they are really excited to get going, as they have started setting up the room, purchasing toys, and collecting toy donations at the main LFS office since the Angel Tree office is not ready yet. 

“They can go to 1107 2A Ave. N. – that’s the Lethbridge Family Services office, as drop-off locations won’t be posted until Oct. 30. It appears that we will have 125 drop-off locations and they will be gGeo-mapped on our website,” said Gallucci.

To apply for angel tree visit https://www.lfsfamily.ca 

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