SANTA’S HELPERS - From left

SANTA’S HELPERS - From left

Lacombe FCSS launches annual Christmas programs

Local organization offers some simple ways to bring holiday cheer

The Christmas season can be a magical, but a busy time of year for many. To help further the spirit of Christmas giving, Lacombe and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) has launched their annual holiday programs.

FCSS Volunteer and Community Services Coordinator Jan Pocock said all three of the Christmastime programs, Santa’s Anonymous, Fill a Fridge and New Coats for Kids, are run by volunteer hours and generous donations.

“We are so thankful for this community,” she said. “Without it none of these programs could happen.”

Santa’s Anonymous is one of those community programs, that in partnership with Lacombe Kinsmen, brings holiday cheer to children’s faces on Christmas morning.

“We are helping families buy those extra Christmas presents, or all their Christmas presents for Christmas morning,” said Pocock. “It’s filling that magical feeling of Santa.”

How the program works is families apply through FCSS and provide a list of the children in their home, along with their age, size and some wish list items.

Elves at Santa’s Workshop then hand select the gifts for the child and wrap them, ready to go under the Christmas tree. The Kinsmen then pick up the gifts and distribute them to the homes sometime before Christmas.

Due to the amount of applications, toy donations are needed in particular for children ages eight and up. Some ideas for donation items could be Lego, games, headphones, electronics or gift certificates.

“It’s all very basic stuff,” said Pocock. “Whatever your kid or your grandchild wants, that’s exactly what these children want.”

Pocock suggests making a family event out of shopping for toy donations. “Go to the store together and let the children in your life pick out something that they really like and donate that.”

Donation drop bins can be found at the Lacombe FCSS office, in the Lacombe Centre Mall and at various stores around the city.

Those interested in participating in Santa’s Anonymous are encouraged to apply by Dec. 18th.

Fill a Fridge, formerly known as the Lacombe Christmas Food Certificate Fund, is a program that aims to meet a basic need during the holiday season

“We are filling your fridge with food at Christmastime,” said Pocock. “It’s a really tight time of the year for so many families throughout the Christmas season. What we are simply doing is again, families come in and they apply, based on their income and the number of people they have in their home equals how much money they receive. It’s a voucher, as simple as it gets.”

The voucher allows the family to go to the three main grocery stores in Lacombe or some of the smaller grocery stores in surrounding villages and hamlets.

Once the family is in the store, the voucher is used like cash, allowing the family to choose whatever food they would like to have a Christmas dinner, stock their fridge and pantry with the basics, or whatever else they may need.

“Everyone deserves to have a merry Christmas and part of having a merry Christmas is having some of that financial strain lifted off of you,” said Pocock. “We want to help our neighbours. We want to help our community members and this is a very simple way to do that by filling that basic need of feeding families.”

FCSS will begin distributing the food certificates on Dec. 15th and they must be used by the end of the month.

Another program that runs not only during the holiday season, but throughout the winter months is New Coats for Kids. The long running program is offered from late October to early March, depending on the weather, and is available to children ages zero to 16.

“It’s a program where families come in and apply and if they are eligible, then we give them a voucher of money to go to the Sears catalogue store (the Culinary Gift Shoppe) and they can purchase new winter wear for their family,” explained Pocock.

Although the program’s title leans towards coats, it’s not limited to just jackets, but it covers all types of winter gear boots, mitts, scarves, toques whatever will keep little ones warm.

“It’s very important that our children are dressed appropriately for Alberta winters,” said Pocock. “We believe that if children are warm, they are more likely to go outside, play on the playground and make friends. If our children are healthy, our community is healthy, so we want active, warm children.”

Pocock noted the program has seen a large increase in applicants this year.

“We’ve already had as many applicants as of December 1st as we did all of last year,” she said. “Last year we had 20 families and 44 children. I say we’ve met that already.”

Although it is based in the City of Lacombe, Lacombe and District FCSS covers all of Lacombe County stretching from Alix and Mirror, Tees and Clive, across to Bentley.

“It’s not just Lacombe,” noted Pocock. “Donations that are made get funneled through Lacombe FCSS but they go to individuals who are in need of assistance throughout the county, as well as the city.”

Application forms for any of the three programs can be picked up at 201, 5214-50th Ave. and are also available at Alix, Bentley and Clive FCSS offices.

Donations are accepted online at www.lacombefcss.net or in person at the Lacombe and District FCSS office.

For more information call 403-782-6637.

news@lacombeeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Flora Northwest was taken to the Ermineskin residential school when she was six years old. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Ermineskin residential school survivor: ‘It just brings me back to the cries at night’

Discovery in Kamloops of remains of 215 children a painful time for survivors

Most Read