Lethbridge charities in need of community support to meet holiday demand – Lethbridge


Bare shelves in the Angel Tree workspace is an emotional sight for chair of the committee, Trina Tymko.

“My eyes are red right now, we’ve had a really emotional couple of days, our shelves are empty and we put such emotion in putting these gift bundles together because we care so deeply about all these kiddos,” she added.

Lethbridge Family Service’s Angel Tree Campaign is working in overdrive to meet the demand for Lethbridge and its surrounding communities as many families prepare for their second pandemic Christmas.

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“Our toy donations are lower than they’ve ever been, as well as the monetary donations, unfortunately, are quite low,” said Tymko.

The organization is tasked with serving a large number of children and families this season, more than ever before.

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The total number of children in need this year is 3,228 according to Tymko adding that the number of families they’ve been able to adopt is at 98 — a number that’s an unfortunate all-time high for the charity.

The Angel Tree is still looking for gifts for some 800 children, leaving a large void right before the holidays.

Interfaith Food Bank, another organization involved with the Christmas Hope campaign, is experiencing some unique challenges this year.

“I think a lot of people are struggling, a lot of people are either still on or have exhausted those temporary emergency supports,” said Danielle McIntyre with the food bank.

“We still see business closures or businesses that are still trying to get back up on their feet after the disruption of the pandemic and then, of course, things like inflation and losing two highways in the last few weeks has really interrupted our normal operations.”

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McIntyre said overall food donations are down, but monetary donations are making it possible to provide Christmas food hampers as the food bank can stretch a dollar with bulk purchases.

The toy side of things is a much bigger struggle and Tymko said they need the community to act fast.

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“(We need donations) right now and (don’t) wait until December 24 — while you are out shopping buy something extra,” she explained, adding many people will give at the last minute which is still appreciated, but with the resources the have, some kids won’t get the gift in time for Christmas.

If you are already done your holiday shopping, you can donate online to a number of charities, including Angel Tree, right here.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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