It’s that time of year again when the whole Queen City comes together to make sure kids get a Christmas gift.
The 48th annual 980 CJME’s Santas Anonymous kicked off on Tuesday.
It’s an event where people in the community purchase brand new Christmas toys for families who may not be able to afford them for their children.
The Salvation Army’s Val Wicks said Christmas gifts are unfortunately the first things to go when a family is struggling with money.
“There’s a lot of families in the city that can make it through the rest of the year. They don’t need help with the back to school backpacks, they don’t need help on a monthly basis — but at Christmas time, it’s just tough,” she explained. “They need some help to get their kids Christmas gifts.”
Wicks added depression is at a high for parents around the holidays because of the stress.
“All parents want to do the best that they can for their kids,” Wicks said. “They want their kids lives to be better than theirs.”
This year, Wicks said there has been a lot of people calling about the program. She added that people have been calling way farther in advance.
“Other years it’s been a couple of weeks before, but this year, it’s a month already that people have been asking about help for Christmas … we’re seeing lots of families that this is their first time that they’re needing help for anything — they just don’t know what to do.”
She said it’s an “awesome feeling” when she can reassure them that there’s a program that will provide a toy for each of their kids and then food for their Christmas dinner. Wicks added most parents have an instant relief in their voice and in their facial expression.
People can sign up for Santas Anonymous at the Salvation Army on 2240 13th Avenue. All they need to bring is a health card, along with a document including their current address, income and expenses.
—With files from 980 CJME’s Morning Show