Holiday shoppers in the giving spirit this holiday season

CALGARY –

Calgary malls are still a destination for Christmas shoppers who aren’t purchasing all their gifts online and that’s good news for charities who’ve set up shop at Southcentre Mall.

Southcentre marketing manager Alexandra Velosa said it’s important for the mall to provide opportunities for people to give back to the community through its charities of choice.

This year Velosa said the mall worked with a dozen different charities.

“We’re always looking at opportunities to connect with the community and give charities an opportunity to be visible and interact with people,” said Velosa. “(We want to) let (customers) know what they do and most importantly explain the impact (their) donations make for those charities and causes.”

Cystic Fibrosis Canada is ‘Wrapping for a Cure’ on the second level near the food court. Kristina Jakeman is a fund development associate with the charity and said the agency is usually at three Calgary malls for Christmas but because of the pandemic they’re only wrapping gifts at one.

“It’s one of our biggest fundraisers of the year,” said Jakeman. “We have over 100 volunteers this year coming in to wrap for us, we’re hoping to raise about $20,000 and we have an ambitious goal of gift wrapping 7000 presents this year.”

Jakeman said all the money raised helps fund research, advocacy and care at its four specialized clinics in Alberta that help people with Cystic Fibrosis.

“I would say the average amount of gifts that people get wrapped are about four and about $20 donation for all four gifts,” she said.

Bev Spielman has volunteered wrapping gifts for nine years and likes knowing she’s helping fund research. Spielman said spending a few hours with other volunteers makes her happy.

“(It’s) very heart warming and it’s a lot of fun, you meet a lot of interesting people, “said Spielman.”You kind of get a chance to put your (wrapping) skills together, you know, put together a nice package for a customer and they go away happy, (and it) makes you happy.”

John Staples just finished his Christmas shopping and is supporting the charity by having all his gifts wrapped.

“I think it’s easier to give this time of year,” he said. “There’s definitely more places to do it and more access for it so it seems like everybody’s more in the giving mood at this time of year.”

Santa takes up centre court at the mall but off to the side is the Cookie Kitchen. It’s a fundraiser for Calgary Meals on Wheels. Cindy Browning is with the charity and enjoys watching children of all ages come decorate a cookie with icing, marshmallows and sprinkles.

“Our goal is to give out 8000 cookies and hopefully to raise $16,000 this year and we’re on track because as of last week we were probably about $8, 500,” said Browning. “We’re halfway through and we still have just over two and a half weeks to go.”

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