Santa’s Hut program gathering donations for Christmas season

In its 25th year, the program allows local children 12 years of age and under to buy gifts for their parents and siblings for a nominal price

Details have been released for this year’s upcoming Santa’s Hut.

Kenneth Brown
of The Clarion

The annual children’s Christmas shopping extravaganza known as Santa’s Hut is starting up for the season as donations of gift items and money are now being accepted.

It’s a special year for organizers because the Santa’s Hut program is in its 25th year of operation. The program is operated by the West Central Crisis and Family Support Centre with help from volunteers in six area communities.

Under the program, children 12 years of age and under can attend a shopping event in their home community to purchase gifts for their parents and siblings for a nominal price. Items are all priced from a minimum of 25 cents for small items to a maximum of $6 for large items.

Donations of new, unwrapped gift items and money are being accepted for the Santa’s Hut program. There’s a dropoff location in each of the six participating communities for people to donate the new, unwrapped gift items.

The six participating communities are Kindersley, Coleville, Eatonia, Marengo, Eston and Rosetown. Each community has at least one local co-ordinator in addition to having local dropoff locations. Only donations of gift items should be made at dropoff locations.

If people don’t know what gifts to donate, they can make a monetary donation. Cash donations are used to buy items before the shopping events if co-ordinators are short items for certain demographics.

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Tax receipts are available for people making donations of money or toys, but donations have to be made at the organization’s outreach centre on First Avenue West in Kindersley in order to get a tax receipt. People must also keep the receipt from their gift purchases if they want a tax receipt. If people don’t want a tax receipt for their cash donations, the donation could be made to the co-ordinators in their community.

The Santa’s Hut shopping events will take place in Kindersley on Dec. 16 at Elizabeth School from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in Coleville on Dec. 1 at Rossville School from 3:30 to 5 p.m., in Eatonia on Dec. 9 at the Community Hall from 2 to 5 p.m., and in Marengo on Dec. 7 at Westcliffe School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The dropoff locations in the four communities are the Kindersley Mall administration office and (crisis) outreach centre in Kindersley, Rossville School in Coleville, Bredy’s Country Store and Eatonia United Church in Eatonia and for Marengo, there are several locations including the Alsask Post Office, JC’s Little Valley Store in Flaxcombe, Co-op store in Hoosier and Westcliffe School and municipal office in Marengo.

Local co-ordinators in the four communities are Misty Leismeister and Doreen Gramlich in Kindersley, Jolene Scheible in Coleville, Anne Rhodes in Eatonia and Sara Wilke in Marengo. If people want information about Eston or Rosetown, they can contact the centre.

Leismeister, one of the Kindersley co-ordinators, is president of the centre’s board of directors. She’s been involved with the Santa’s Hut program for five years and is excited for the 25th year.

She said people who are making donations in Kindersley to get a tax receipt are asked to let the centre know which community the donation is being made to support, so organizers can ensure the donations get to the right places.

The Santa’s Hut program has two main benefits because children get to buy gifts at prices they can afford and proceeds from the sale of gift items help to support the centre.

“It’s huge because we get to make a day for all these kids possible,” she said. It’s heart-warming to see the excitement on the children’s faces while they shop for their loved ones and it’s a bonus because proceeds help the organization “to continue running the centre.”

She noted that the support allows the centre to provide its programs throughout the region to help as many people as possible.

The president said Santa’s Hut has been successful for 25 years and she that’s an awesome accomplishment.

Leismeister said the program is always short on gift items for men and teenagers, so she encouraged people to keep the demographics in mind while shopping for donations. Gifts such as movie or television DVDs are good for teenagers and automotive items such as shammies and wax are good for men.

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© Kindersley Clarion

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