Every child deserves to experience the magic of Christmas.
If your family is in need of a helping hand this holiday season contact Trail business owner Ash Hodgson and organizer Annick de Goede, who are rallying the community to help with the Adopt a Family for the Holidays.
With a significant increase in the cost of living, more families are in need of assistance over the holiday season, and organizers are asking those who can, to help those who can’t afford to make this a joyful time for their spouses and children.
“We are noticing that the world has definitely changed,” said de Goede. “Lots has happened this year in terms of inflation and people have less to spend, so there is not as many sponsors as last year.”
The group matches Greater Trail sponsors with families who have applied for support, and so far the number of applications is already greater than last year, and the sponsors significantly less.
“Last year, a day or two before (the deadline), we had three or four new sponsors, so we are hoping that happens again,” said Hodgson, the owner of Good Stuff and Kootenay West Distilling in Trail. “Some people might not know if they are going to be able to do it or not, and then they get a little bit closer and they say, ‘You know what I can do it this year.’ So we are hoping that happens again.”
Also, any gifts purchased from Good Stuff for the Adopt a Family campaign will be matched.
The organizers and volunteers also learned a few lessons from last year, when the gift-giving response was unexpected and the support overflowing.
“We definitely have streamlined things better this year,” said de Goede. “We’ve come up with a really good distribution line. We are going to go with moving boxes with lists on them. We are going to have shelves up and everything is going to be organized.”
This year, Adopt a Family for the Holidays will provide families with gift hampers in the form of moving boxes. Sponsors can pick-up/drop-off these boxes at Kootenay West Distilling in Trail or at Kootenay Family Place in Castlegar.
“Most of the time our sponsors are local families that go out and pick out the gifts, say for a family of two kids and they’ll pick those out,” said Hodgson. “We do have a few people who are sponsoring from out of town, which is really cool.”
Those who sign up as sponsors from outside the area can send funds and volunteers will go out and buy gifts or gift cards for the adopted family.
They also ask that only new and unwrapped gifts be donated to ensure safety and age/gender suitability. The group also possesses an abundance of single gifts or “loose” donations from last year and expect more this year. Those will come in handy and go to families that potentially don’t get sponsored.
As of last week, 44 families had signed up for assistance and 28 sponsors, leaving 16 sponsors short. If you would like to sponsor a family or if you are a family who needs extra help this holiday season contact Adopt a Family for the Holidays on Facebook or Instagram or just drop into Good Stuff or Kootenay West Distilling at 1180 Cedar Ave. in Trail.
Although the process can be stressful at times, both de Goede and Hodgson find tremendous satisfaction in their efforts.
“Seeing all these people so happy, and also the givers, they are so thrilled to do this,” added Annick. “I used a similar program in 2020 when I became a single mom, and it really made my Christmas different. It was so much better because of it and that’s one reason why I just love this.”
The group is also accepting donations of gift bags and tissue paper, much easier and less time consuming than wrapping.
Residents can access more information on the Adopt a Family for the Holidays online at familyactionnetwork.ca.
Adopt a Family encourages residents to shop locally and support Greater Trail businesses during the campaign.