The Shuswap Family Centre conjures images of Santa’s workshop this time of year.
As the annual Family-to-Family Christmas Gift campaign for children/youth proceeds, it’s all about the gifts.
Around town, Christmas trees with tags can be seen at Canadian Tire, Centenoka and Piccadilly malls, and all SASCU locations including Sicamous and Sorrento. On the trees are tags identifying an actual child by age and gender.
People buy gifts (recommended in the $40 to $50 range) for the children on their tags and drop them off, unwrapped, under the tree where they picked up the tag, or at the Shuswap Family Centre, Monday to Thursday from 9 to 5.
The campaign is intended to provide gifts for kids 19 and under from families who are currently experiencing hardships.
It has been extended this year in order to comply with social distancing protocols, so from Dec. 14 to 24, parents can visit the regularly sanitized family centre to shop. Parents expecting a gift will be phoned and given a time to come in to the centre.
Each child will receive a gift, a stocking stuffer and a book provided by the Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society and the Shuswap Children’s Association.
Executive director Patricia Thurston said the best thing for last-minute donations are financial ones.
“It’s never too late. The closer we get to Christmas, it’s just easier to organize rather than trying to bring that third person in with packages.”
Adopt-A-Family is also carrying on this season.
Businesses or individuals who would like to support a family in need are asked to call the family centre at 250-832-2170. Adopted families are kept anonymous.
Thurston said because of the pandemic, people are welcome to provide a monetary donation because the centre has a couple of people who have volunteered to shop.
“So we have shoppers to reduce the flow in the malls.”
Thurston gave a shout-out to all the fire halls which collected toys for the family centre and the SAFE Society.
As for gifts, she said the issue is never with young children but with getting gift for teenagers in the 16 to 19 range. Gift cards have been a hot item.
Overall, she said if someone is in need, family centre staff and volunteers “will do everything in our power to make sure they get a Christmas.”
Thurston also speaks to people’s generosity.
“As always, I have so much gratitude for the community, their willingness to step up and give back.
“It’s magical around here – people who can, just want to give.”