Santas Anonymous weekend toy drive draws hundreds of volunteers
This year, the organization expects to put gifts in the hands of 25,000 Edmonton children
Santa's elves — also known as charitable Edmontonians — are keeping busy this weekend delivering thousands of presents to families in need.
Despite cold temperatures, hundreds of people lined up Saturday to help sort and deliver gifts for Santas Anonymous. The delivery drive is running all weekend, and is expected to bring gifts to 10,000 Edmonton homes by the end of the weekend.
Santas Anonymous first started the gift drive in 1965, with the goal of making sure every child in Edmonton had a new toy at Christmas. That year, it delivered toys to 600 children. This year, the organization expects to put gifts in the hands of 25,000 children.
"Considering the weather, it is overwhelming to know that everybody has come out to make sure that every child has a new toy under the tree come Christmas morning," Santas Anonymous executive director Lana Nordlund said.
Considering the weather, it is overwhelming to know that everybody has come out to make sure that every child has a new toy under the tree come Christmas morning.- Lana Nordlund, Santas Anonymous executive director
The event has become an annual tradition for many volunteers, Nordlund said. Some volunteers who met at the yearly drive have gone on to get married, she said, and some people who were recipients as children are now volunteering and delivering gifts themselves.
It's just phenomenal to see the sense of community... people know the difference a toy can make to a child," Nordlund said.
Grayson Palm is volunteering for his 10th year at the toy drive, and brought his children with him.
"It's just a way to give back," he said. "Especially in Alberta these days, it's been tough for a lot of families and we're still fortunate to still have jobs.
"So this is something we can do to maybe help out some less fortunate families out there."