Friendship Centre enters final gift campaign push

The Flin Flon Aboriginal Friendship Centre is hoping toys will reach the ceiling. They’ve partnered with Red Apple for their annual Christmas Gift Program. The program is celebrating its 25th anniversary and organizers hope to raise over $5,000 worth of toys for the holiday season.

Justin Drummelsmith is the store manager for Flin Flon Red Apple. He said they’ll be holding an event to cap off their donation drive Dec. 7, with a portion of all sales that day supporting the toy drive.

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“It's really about supporting local communities and businesses, getting together to help these types of drives,” he said. 

“Dec. 7 is our final push of the day and 10 per cent of our sales of toys from the company will go towards these charities.”

The Flin Flon Aboriginal Friendship Centre is partnering once again with the Salvation Army - the Salvation Army focusing on food hampers and the Friendship Centre focused on the toy drive.

It’s not just the sales donations that will make Dec. 7 a big day for the program. The Friendship Centre will be bringing in Santa and Elders, holding an event to thank Red Apple for their help during the drive.

“A lot of families can't afford Christmas gifts for their children,” said Katie Kawerski, director of the Aboriginal Head Start program.

“We try to help out so at least the children are having a nice Christmas, so it's a good memory for them instead of having a memory where they're not having anything under the tree. For our type of charity, that's what we strive for - to make Christmas a better experience for children.”

Virginia Gardiner is the head of the gift program and explained how it works.

“The parents come to our program and they pick a gift from the toys we have, they wrap it at the Friendship Center and they take it home and put it under the tree,” she said. 

“It eases the burden for the parents as well,” Kawerski added. 

“They're not worried about where they're going to get the money to buy a gift when their child will be getting a gift under the tree.”

Kawerski said the need for the Christmas gift program is on the rise.

“Each year we're seeing more and more parents and families needing this support, which is sad, but in a way it's cool,” she said. 

“I'm glad that we have this because now we know the need is there. If we know the need is there, we'll keep striving to make it better.”

Gardiner said last year the program gave gifts to nearly 400 kids, adding the logistics of moving that many gifts around is a challenge.

“It's a lot of work,” Gardiner said. 

“I would like to thank the community of Flin Flon and the surrounding communities for donating to our program.”

Registration for the Christmas gift program runs until Dec. 13.



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