Christmas came early for more than 150 Calgary families on the weekend thanks to the Calgary Sun’s annual Adopt-a-Family charity drive.
This year marked the 36th year of the Adopt-a-Family program, which provides Calgary families in need of some Christmas cheer with basic household items, clothes, and, of course, wish-list items like gifts for children.
The UPS depot in northeast Calgary was turned into a makeshift North Pole workshop Saturday as a long line of big brown UPS trucks were stuffed with Santa-sized deliveries by compassionate volunteers and UPS staff, along with past and present Postmedia employees.
“It’s a great initiative,” said Steve Marston with the uniform delivery company Cintas, which had eight volunteers helping collect donations.
“Everyone at our work loves giving back so we just put it out there to the team and they jumped all over it. This is my fourth year in a row now.
“To see the gratitude on the faces of the people that actually get delivered the presence and to see people line up at seven in the morning to bring presents in, you just get to see the whole scope of Calgary in the best light possible.”
The charity connects families with sponsors, and for as little as $200 per family member, generous Calgarians helped the less fortunate with hampers of groceries, clothing and a gifts.
This year more than 150 families received Adopt-a-Family care packages filled with bicycles, wrapped gifts, household items and toiletries.
One family of five was even given enough mattresses and bedding for everyone in the home.
Colleen Kaiser, who works for Molson Coors, said employees of the beer company gathered enough goodies to make it a very merry Christmas for one family.
“We came together in a week to get all their needs,” she said. “We have lots of clothing, we have blankets and sheets and pillows, towels, household items, and the dad wanted a snow brush,” she said.
“We like to play our part in the community and anything we can do to help out is a benefit to everyone.”
UPS driver Neil Duczek has been making Adopt-a-Family deliveries for many years and said there no greater feeling than delivering Christmas gifts to the families, who stay anonymous through the program.
“It’s a great experience to see the families and the emotion,” Duczek said. “It’s a busy season for us, but this is the brightest part of my time here.”
On Twitter: @RCRumbolt
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