The organizations behind Christmas Hope are seeing demand like never before.
They’re expecting to serve more than 8,000 Lethbridge residents this holiday season, more than 5,000 of which are children.
Last year, they served roughly 5,800 total.
While it’s a significant increase, it wasn’t unexpected.
“We came into the season knowing registrations were up. We saw a definite increase here (and) we’ve seen an increase in services in other areas in the community we’re a part of as well. So we were anticipating this to be a bigger season, for sure,” said Jennifer Tribble, director for MyCityCare.
Christmas Hope is an annual collaboration between MyCityCare, Angel Tree, Volunteer Lethbridge, the Salvation Army, and the Lethbridge and Interfaith food banks.
This collaboration is done to make sure donations are used more efficiently and no one gets missed.
The high demand has each group calling for more donations.
Inflation and rising food costs are cited as major reasons for the increased demand this holiday season.
So far, donations from the community have been enough to keep up.
But with more requests still coming in, more donations are needed, particularly gifts for teens.
“That’s actually not unique to this year,” Tribble said.
“Teen gifts are always ones where I think generally, people think it’s easier to pick something for a smaller child than the teens.”
Angel Tree so far has been able to meet the extra requests it’s seen this year, but will need more donations as more requests will continue to roll in right up until Christmas.
Volunteers have now taken to going out and buying presents.
“The thing that’s changed this year is the toys weren’t coming in, but the donations were, so then I would send people out shopping. And let me tell you, we will find the money to get the toys. We will not leave the children without a gift bundle,” said Michelle Gallucci, director of advancement and communications for Lethbridge Family Services, which runs Angel Tree.
The Lethbridge Food Bank says it’s had an easier time keeping its shelves stocked.
Donations and various food drives from the community have made sure no family will go hungry this holiday season, but they, too, have been faced with more clients than ever before.
“We assumed this Christmas that we would see a rise in clients and we’ve definitely seen that. It’s hard to predict every year what to do, so we always try to go over and we’re definitely going to meet the max that we put out. In the last three days, we’ve done over 250 households,” said Mac Nichol, executive director for the Lethbridge Food Bank.
To register for support from Christmas Hope or to find out how to donate, you can visit christmashope.ca online.
View original article here Source