The Regina and District Food Bank transformed into the North Pole Saturday morning as hundreds of volunteers gathered to wrap gifts donated in CJME’s 48th annual Santas Anonymous campaign.
Debbie Rodger remembers first hearing the ad for volunteers around 20 years ago on 980 CJME. Each Christmas since then, she’s been back to help lend a wrapping hand.
“When I first started coming, it was at the Green and White Lounge at the old Mosaic Stadium, but then they outgrew that space,” she said.
“It’s still crowded, but everybody gets along, and shares the tape and the pens and the name tags. It’s good.”
People were searching for floor space to wrap presents on Saturday morning — but not her. Tucked away under some stairs — with plenty of elbow room — Debbie stood alongside her son, daughter-in-law and their two children. They started coming as a family two years ago, and Debbie’s daughter-in-law, Erin, said it’s the best way for her kids to celebrate the season.
“I think it’s just a fabulous opportunity to show them that Christmas is really about giving. We’re so lucky to be living here and to have what we have, so it’s really great to say that it’s about giving — not just about getting,” Erin said.
This year, her seven-year-old daughter, Danica, put her Christmas spirit into action by spending all of her birthday money on toys to donate to Santas Anonymous.
“(Wrap Day) is like my favourite place,” Danica said. “You get to actually help wrap and you get to help pick toys out … it makes me feel happy.”
All together the Rodgers wrapped gifts for upwards of 10 families this year.
And seeing people, like the Rodgers, squish into the Food Bank to pitch in makes Val Wicks with the Salvation Army smile — especially since all the presents were wrapped in under two hours.
“They’re just awesome. It’s community spirit — they give back,” Wicks said. “When community helps community, the community gets to be stronger.”
According to Wicks, more than 4,000 toys were wrapped on Saturday morning, which means around 1,800 kids will have presents under their trees this Christmas.