The Airdrie 1st Club officially kicked off its annual Christmas Hamper campaign at its new headquarters at the Towerlane Mall on Monday.
In attendence for the launch were Mayor Peter Brown, who helped cut the ribbon to launch the campaign, and Councillors Darell Belyk, Ron Chapman, Heather Spearman, Al Jones, Tina Petrow and Candice Kolson.
While some toys and other items have already begun coming in to fill this year's hampers, there is a 75 per cent increase in demand over last year, and many more items will be needed as the campaign continues until just before Christmas, when the hampers will be distributed to Airdronians in need this holiday season.
Hampers do still include perishable items, and the Club is actively looking for a donor to step up for the apples and oranges this year. Buerlen said sponsors have already donated milk, bread, carrots, butter, and potatoes.
Additionally, for those who want to help out and donate, there are toy boxes at Canadian Tire in Airdrie and at Toys ‘R Us in the Cross Iron Mills Mall.
The Airdrie 1st Club will also host a chocolate drive and collect toys and chocolate at the upcoming annual hockey game between the RCMP and Fire services on Dec. 3.
Following Monday's official kick off, donations are now being accepted at the Club’s own donation centre in the Towerlane Mall, near Safeway and the Dollar Store.
“The group itself comes with a lot of passion and heart,” said Club president Jo-El Buerlen, who helped Mayor Brown cut the ribbon to begin the campaign. “They work very hard behind the scenes and I know people in Airdrie recognize that and the City of Airdrie very much recognizes that.”
The application process for the Christmas Hamper Program opened on Oct. 9 and will remain open until Dec. 8, according to the Airdrie 1st Club website.
The Club has a screening process and a screening group that will phone potential recipients who may qualify for the hamper program.
Those that qualify for the program will then pick up their hampers on Dec. 17.
-With file from Masha Scheele/ Airdrie City View