The Airdrie Lioness Club is asking residents to donate gift cards instead of food and toys for their Christmas hamper program this year.
Lisa Kennedy, social media coordinator for Airdrie Lioness Club, says the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered the club’s usual process for collecting and distributing hampers.
“We are still hoping to send holiday joy to individuals or families who may be having a hard time this year,” says Kennedy.
“We will be collecting gift cards to provide families with a Christmas dinner and a gift for each child or family member. We are looking for a variety of gift cards in smaller denominations, so they are easy to distribute.”
Kennedy says hampers normally contain a week’s worth of groceries, along with gifts for each child or family member.
She says in previous years, the program required a number of volunteers, collecting, sorting and distributing all of the food and gift items in a confined space.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the program had to change for several reasons, including the fact that the warehouse (the Main Street firehall) is being used for COVID testing.
Kennedy adds even if they were able to find a new facility on short notice, it would be nearly impossible to follow Alberta Health Services guidelines around the number of people and items touched to keep everyone safe.
Last year, the Lioness Club distributed about 350 hampers and helped more than 1,000 local members of the community.
“The need may be greater this year and we are just trying to do our best to help out,” Kennedy adds.
“From what I have heard in speaking with other members of the ‘helping’ community, there have been many new families experiencing difficult times this year, possibly related to COVID-19 and loss of employment.”
She adds that she would love it if the program could also help struggling small business owners, with donors shopping locally for the gift cards.
The Lioness Club is looking for a variety of the following gift cards to local stores including:
- Grocery stores
- CrossIron Mills Mall
- Local restaurants
- Toy stores
- Fast food restaurants
- Spa gift certificates
- Nail salon gift certificates
- Hair salon gift certificates
- Family activity gift cards (movie theatre, bowling, kids indoor play spaces etc.)
- Clothing stores
- Hardware stores
- Local garden centres
- Home-based business entrepreneurs
Kennedy says cash or gift cards are both equally appreciated in any amount.
“No amount is too small, if someone can spare $5 or sponsor a family, whatever your situation is, it is so appreciated,” she adds.
Money can be donated online by clicking here.
Alternatively, if a donor wishes to physically donate cash or gift cards, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange pick up.
For more information about the Airdrie Lioness, click here.