Providing for those in need at Christmas time

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The Airdrie Lioness Club is looking for local residents and businesses to sponsor hampers for those in need at Christmas for its 40th annual Christmas Hamper Program.

The program provides personalized hampers full of food for a Christmas meal, as well as groceries for a week, gifts and hygiene items for low-income families in Airdrie and the surrounding area, according to club president Rhonda Auclair.

Hampers are made for individuals or families and can cost anywhere between $350 and $1,200 to sponsor, she said. Hamper recipients are referred to the club by the Airdrie Food Bank, North Rocky View Community Links and other local agencies.

The demand for hampers has increased since the program’s inception, especially in the last few years, which Auclair said is likely a result of Alberta’s poor economy. She said the club spent $14,000 on produce alone for hampers last year and distributed 372 of them.

The program’s annual food drive is taking place Nov. 18 in the communities of Sagewood, Meadowbrook, Thorburn, Silvercreek, Woodside, Cooper’s Crossing, Jensen, Fairways and King’s Heights. Auclair said volunteers will deliver grocery bags to homes in these communities with a list of items needed for the hampers and will pick them up Nov. 18.

“We actually have a lot of people that donate, so it’s really great,” she said, adding requested items include things like peanut butter, jam, cereal, canned goods, toilet paper, toothpaste and tooth brushes.

The depot for the Christmas Hamper Program will open Nov. 28 and will be located at the old fire hall on Main Street. Donations will be accepted there Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the hampers will be distributed Dec. 16 and 17.

Tristan Cybertowicz, media correspondent for the Airdrie Lioness Club, said she encourages local residents and businesses to sponsor a family this year to hopefully inspire those in need at Christmas time.

“It always feels good to help your community and the people around you,” she said.

“I have, in the past, known somebody that was a family that was adopted when they were younger and every year since, as an adult, they’ve contributed back…. You never know who’s going to need help. You might need it one day, too.”

For more information on sponsoring a family or referring a recipient, visit airdrielionessclub.com, email airdrielioness@gmail.com or call 403-660-1569.

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