Friendship Centre helps 586 people celebrate Christmas

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Slave Lake’s Native Friendship Centre received applications for Christmas food hampers, from 174 households. These applications included 331 children, 58 seniors and 197 adults, for a total of 586 people. This works out to three-and-a-third people per application.

All of the 331 children received a Santas Anonymous gift. People over 13 received a gift card, toque and scarf.

Various people and organizations donated unwrapped gifts, money and food. These included the Roland Michener Secondary School fill-a-bus food drive. Revolution Ford’s Santa’s Sleigh drive, a donation by Slave Lake Pulp and others. Zander Smith, 10, fundraised and donated 93 toys. The EMS filled an ambulance. The exact number of toys donated wasn’t counted, but seemed to be less than previous years.

“It was very slow this year for gifts,” says Barb Courtorielle, Friendship Centre executive-director. “It was a good year though; we didn’t go in the hole, and I have money for next year.”

The Friendship Centre spent $25,541 on groceries for food hampers. $2,800 for gifts, wrapping paper, and gift cards. Donations were over $29,000.

In other Friendship Centre news, the Mat Program is going well. It gives homeless people a place to sleep out of the cold, during the winter. More volunteers to commit to coming by one evening a week from 7 to 9 p.m. are needed. Volunteers help serve supper and at times help the homeless find blankets. Volunteers must be adults.

Children and teenagers are welcome to volunteer in any other part of the Friendship Centre. They can help out in the food bank, second hand store, kitchen or at reception.

The second hand store and food bank are always accepting donations, but do not have a specific need at this time. The food bank especially is used year round.

At the moment, the second hand store has lots of coats. There haven’t been a lot of Coats for Kids applications, so the Friendship Centre is encouraging people to apply.

Normal Friendship Centre activities started again on Monday, January 6, with the Elders’ Circle from 1 to 3 p.m. Seniors Drop in is every Wednesday at the same time. Soup and Bannock is on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Homeless Coalition meets on January 30 from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Friendship Centre. It is open to the public.

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