By Ryan Dahlman
If you live in southeast Alberta and you are struggling financially this holiday season, the Santa Claus Fund is here to help. And no, it isn’t just for those who live in Medicine Hat. From Walsh to Foremost and Bow Island and everywhere in between, the Santa Claus Fund is here to give a hand up to children and adults who need a special gift this Christmas.
Deanna Doerksen, Executive Director at Medicine Hat News Santa Claus Fund, says they are
“I think we’re just seeing the implications of the the pandemic continue,” explain Doerksen. “And then with inflation, there’s just a lot of families that are struggling to make ends meet and that’s who we want to look after as we just want to provide that (help).”
The Santa Claus Fund serves everyone from single individuals to families, and provide Christmas toys to children zero to 17. They also help adults as well. They want those applying to only apply at one Christmas charity and they use the low income scale of Canada to qualify families to access their services. Doerksen adds though if there are extenuating circumstances such as people recently losing their employment or the difference between keeping power on as opposed to providing Christmas presents, Doerksen adds “that’s what we’re here for. So we’re just here to give families a hand up over the holiday season.”
The Santa Claus Fund was set up in 1986 by the Medicine Hat News and have assisted many thousands of families in the past 36 years.
Doerksen, who is the only full time person, says there are 40 volunteers who will be helping this year. The Santa Claus Fund gets absolutely no government funding.
Besides a small army of enthusiastic, dedicated and diligent volunteers, the donations are always solid.
There is the Santa Claus Motorcycle Rally that occurs at the end of summer; the 31st year of the Santa Claus Charity Auction, formerly at the Corona auction. This year it will be at Medicine Hat’s Dayzoff Pub (Dec. 8 starting at 7 p.m.). Last year Doerksen said they raised over $70,000 in 2021.
“We’re hoping to match that again this year. We have the Santa Claus is Coming to Town Again parade sponsored by IG wealth. And that takes place starting on December 11 for four days where we’ll be coming to your neighborhood, delivering the message of hope and the Christmas spirit. People are able to come out and watch us as well as make donations as we come along the route.
“Our community and region never ceases to amaze me. So when times are tough, southeastern Albertans step up. They believe in our cause and they give to our cause and that allows us the opportunity to serve families in need.”
The Santa Claus Fund shares a building with the Medicine Hat News at 3257 Dunmore Rd. SE in Medicine Hat. There is no appointment necessary, but it is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
They are open Nov. 29 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.); Nov. 30 (4-7 p.m.); Dec. 1 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.); Dec. 5-Dec. 8 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.); Dec. 12 (4-7 p.m.); Dec. 13 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.); Dec. 14 (4-7 p.m.); and Dec. 15 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.). Doerksen says that people requesting assistance need to bring provide the last 60 days of their financial statements (such As AISH or Employment Insurance statements or pay stubs), photo identification of themselves, and then health care cards for adults and children.
For more information please call 403-528-9900 or the website at http://www.mhsantafund.com