Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Santas Anonymous in Slave Lake hopes to help over 230 households have enough food to celebrate Christmas in 2021.

“We’re already at 230 (applications),” says Barb Courtorielle, Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre executive director.

Slave Lake Food Bank at Native Friendship Centre has organized Santas Anonymous since at least the 1980s. It provides food hampers and toys for families which otherwise would do without.

Earlier in December, Courtorielle posted on social media that 230 food hampers was the goal this year. The estimated cost for 230 is around $33,000.

The last few years the number of people needing a hamper has increased. In 2020, 204 families received Santas Anonymous hampers, according to the January 6, 2021 Leader. This was up from 174 in 2019.

The social media post says the hampers include “turkey, potatoes, stuffing, corn, cranberries, bag salad, ranch dressing, gravy mix, white and brown bread, margarine, roasting pan, tin foil, hamburger, Kraft dinner, four litres milk, salt & pepper shakers, cereal, eggs, bacon, sausage, pancake mix, syrup,” (and more).

Santas Anonymous runs on toy and cash donations from the community.

“We’re kind of low on toys, but they’re slowly starting to come in,” says Courtorielle. Santas Anonymous collects toys for children aged zero to 12.

Last year, there were 396 kids in the program, which included 15 babies, says Courtorielle.

Money can be dropped off as cash or cheques at the Friendship Centre from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Also, donations can be mailed in.