By Mo Cranker on January 9, 2019.
It was another busy, yet successful winter for the Medicine Hat News Santa Claus Fund.
The group saw a 21-per-cent increase in the demand for its services in 2018 compared to 2017 but managed to help 514 Hat families celebrate a merry Christmas.
“This year was a huge success for us,” said executive director Deanna Doerksen. “With the 514 families that’s 1,046 children locally that we helped out.
“It’s always an honour for us to help bring people Christmas in this community.”
The SCF held its second annual Spirit of Giving Gala this year, relocated its annual auction and held a screening of the movie Elf at the Canalta Centre — all of these events and others raised significant funds for the group. Doerksen says the increase in demand is a reflection of how things are going for Hatters.
“Christmas can be really tough for families with the way the economy is — that’s why we’re here,” she said. “We serviced people all the way to the 24th this year who were in crisis.
“We don’t close our doors and wrap up for the year — if people are in need of our services we’re here to help.”
Each child receives two gifts off of the SCF’s shelves, a stuffed animal and stocking stuffers. Each family receives a board game as well. Doerksen says the group distributed $49,850 in grocery vouchers in the 2018 Holiday season.
Doerksen says the group wants to help at Christmas because it is a special time of the year.
“There’s just something magical about Christmas and the idea of a child waking up in Christmas morning and there being nothing there just doesn’t sit right with us,” she said.
Doerksen says volunteer support is vital to the SCF’s operations.
“Our volunteers put in over 1,000 hours this year,” she said. “We wouldn’t be able to do the work we do without volunteers.
“We have such an amazing team that donates so much of their time to make this all happen — it’s special.”