“I’m really concerned for Santas Anonymous,” says Barb Courtorielle of the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre. “We’ve hardly got any donations at all.”
The long-running program provides Christmas hampers (food plus kids’ toys) to about 180 eligible families in the area each year.
The program has always been pretty well supported by local groups and companies. But for some reason the response so far has been on the lukewarm side.
“I sent out 200 letters,” Courtorielle says. “I only got 12 responses so far.”
It costs $22,000 for the groceries. All the prep and delivery of the hampers is done mostly by volunteers, with some Friendship Centre staff time as well.
Courtorielle has some money, but is only a bit over halfway there and may have to make some tough decisions.
“We’re really feeling the pinch right now,” she says.
The pinch isn’t just about the Christmas programs; the Mat Program homeless shelter only has enough money for a few weeks of operation. Courtorielle is hoping for some provincial funding to cover the personnel costs for the program, “but I didn’t hear anything yet.”
Courtorielle can be reached at 780-849-4380 at the Friendship Centre.