February 28th, 2024

LPS setting up Christmas checkstop for charity


By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 28, 2023.

Herald photo by Steffanie Costigan LPS Const. Brooklyn Peterson speaks about the annual Charity Checkstop at the Lethbridge Police Station on Monday afternoon.

Lethbridge Police Service’s fourth annual Charity Checkstop is set to go Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and officers will be at the Park Place Mall’s west parking lot next to the old Sears store to collect new toys, gifts, money and non-perishable food for the Christmas Hope campaign.

Constable Brooklyn Peterson says police are excited to hold the Charity Checkstop in the new location this year, and hopes the site will be more central and convenient for people.

More than 1,300 gifts were donated last year, but with the increased cost, this year’s goal is to collect 2,500 gifts for struggling families in the community.

“Christmas Hope has three toy agencies that share this charity checkstop event,” Michelle Gallucci, Lethbridge Family Service director of advancement and communications, said Monday. “If we can get about 2,500 gifts and toys and donations in one shot, that means each one of us will have 800 and change in toys, which will help about 300 children. It’s a really important event for us because we’re coming into December, with almost 4,000 Children registered just for Angel Tree, and shop of wonders is going to hit 2,000. It’s a lot of children this year.”

Peterson said she is hoping for a lot of support from the community, as well.

“We just put on this event and hope that we just get the best turnout possible and just do what we can for the people who need it this holiday season,” she said. “I guess that there is hope for higher turnout with this new, more central location.”

Gallucci said the need is greater this year given the impact that the rising cost of living is having on families struggling in the community and the Christmas hope they are needing at this time.

“We honestly didn’t think we’d reach these kinds of numbers,” Gallucci said. “Then I went grocery shopping myself during Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t believe the prices of everything, and I don’t know how these families are doing it. We are giving now to double-income families who are barely making it. We don’t want people to find Christmas stressful. We want to give hope and imagination to the children. We want them to dream, and we want them to dream big. This is our next generation of people that will be living in our community. We just want to create a community of elves that give to a community of children that need hope.”

Gallucci said there is a need for dolls, Lego and childrens’ science kits, and toys for children up to two years of age. The need for food is also great.

“I’ve had a lot of requests for food. I’ve had people calling me crying on the phone that they don’t have enough food. I’ve had children just asking for one item, one item on their little wish list. And they asked for treats, and they asked for something for their siblings. And of course, when we see that kind of situation, we want to give as much as we can to each child and give them a decent gift bundle.”

Gallucci added it would be difficult to provide such help without the police.

“We’re so lucky to have events like Lethbridge police services charity checkstop. We can’t get that many gifts in one day in a four-hour period without their help. And they’re such good community partners for Christmas hope, and then Christmas hope itself is really working together to try to get all the gift bundles completed and we’re helping each other if we’re missing items.”

Donations for toys and funds can also be donated through mycitycare.ca.

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