For over 20 years the Sylvan Lake Christmas Bureau has been serving the needs of the community to ensure all children are able to celebrate Christmas regardless of financial barriers.
The Bureau operates via donations from local businesses and members of the community by gathering toys and redistributing them to those in need.
Sylvan Lake Christmas Bureau Co-ordinator, Giselle Campbell, expects 2016 to be another busy season with the need for toys being high and donations being low due to economic circumstances.
Campbell explained the community of Sylvan Lake always pulls through and ensures those in need have presents under the tree on Christmas morning. She added donations typically come from toy boxes being set up at local businesses with some businesses and organizations going out and purchasing toys, as well as from individuals who donate toys and cash also.
“We get donations from all over the community and we also have our angel tree at Dairy Queen every year as well,” said Campbell. “So on the tree there are ornaments – on the front it will say ‘Girl: Age 5’ then on the back is what she asked for and people will take that off and return it to Dairy Queen with what was on it.
In addition to regular donations from the Angel Tree, in the past the Bureau also sees families or individuals sponsoring families.
“We will match them up with a family that is in their budget of what they want to spend,” said Campbell. “If there is a family with two little girls who they want to get involved with volunteerism and donating then we match them up with a family who has two little girls,
“Who better to pick out presents for a 6 year old than another 6 year old?”
In addition, the local Interact club at H.J. Cody High School also participates in the program, with teens from the program raising funds and purchasing toys for the program also.
“They have supported us for years and they are wonderful – again who knows better what teenagers want better than teens?” added Campbell. “The local Interact Club are truly young leaders in our community.”
Campbell explained families with children ages 0-17 in need of the Christmas Bureau can come by their registration day this Saturday, Nov. 12 being held at the Bureau located at #3 40 Hewett Park Landing.
At this time the Bureau will gather all registration forms and ensure they have the necessary toys to fill all orders with any other needed toys being placed on the Angel Tree at Dairy Queen. Photo I.D. as well as a current utility bill and a a current rental or mortgage receipt are needed for proof of residency when applying for Christmas Bureau services.
For more information call Giselle Campbell at 403 291 3338.