Santa’s Anonymous hampers ready to go
The Kin Club of Hinton has been busy preparing Christmas hampers for close to 200 families in Hinton.
By the end of November, all the boxes were made in preparation for Santa’s Anonymous and toys donated through the Foothills Road Riders toy run were ready for distribution. Toys are still being donated at the Parks West Mall bin, and a few other big events to bring in donations are wrapping up.
“We can always use monetary donations. It costs quite a bit to put this on to buy the food and the boxes and everything else,” said Bill McLaughlin, chair of the Kin Club.
He said donations are slowly trickling in and he hopes they can bring in enough to pay for the program. In the past two years, the program had small losses and by the end of November this year the club had brought in just under a third of their monetary goal.
“People don’t start thinking about Christmas until December. Sometimes the funds trickle in after our delivery day. It’s hard to tell,” added McLaughlin.
The club pays its grocery bill after the event is over and will know then if they’ve had a loss or not.
“It all usually totals up at the end,” McLaughlin said positively.
Christmas hampers with toys for the kids and enough groceries for two weeks, including a turkey, are delivered to families on Dec. 15.
Families sign up through Alberta Supports and the deadline was Dec. 2. McLaughlin said they usually prepare around 180 hampers for families in Hinton.
“There are at least three toys per child also and teenagers get gift cards. It’s hard to find toys for like a 16 year old girl or boy, so we ask for gift cards. That’s how we cover the older children,” said McLaughlin.
In support of the program, anyone can adopt a family, where they receive a family’s ages and genders and a suggested grocery list to put together their own hampers.
Four schools in Hinton also support the program by putting together a hamper per classroom.
Other ways to support the program can be through sponsoring a family with a $250 donation, which will go to the hamper of one family.
Any monetary donations towards the costs of the program can also be made to the Kin Club. Volunteers help distribute the hampers using trailers and delivery trucks on Dec. 15, a task that only takes a few hours as they usually receive a lot of help.
“Our volunteers always see the need in the community, and we always have a good volunteer base that are willing to come out and help. They realize the situation of people in Hinton at this time of the year,” said McLaughlin.
The program is currently in its 61st continuous year, starting in 1958.
“The members did it out of their basement, because they didn’t receive their charter as a Kinsmen Cadet Club until 1959,” explained McLaughlin.
McLaughlin got involved as a volunteer on delivery day more than 20 years ago.
Email McLaughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer. Any donations can be made out to The Kin Club of Hinton Santa’s Anonymous.