By Jasmine Franklin
The wrestling room of Ponoka Composite High School was transformed Dec. 16 into a festive atmosphere filled with food, gifts and giving spirits.
PCHS has been fundraising and organizing a Santa’s Anonymous drive to put together food and gift hampers for families who need extra help this Christmas.
“This is my first year (participating in Santa’s Anonymous) and I’m doing it because I feel all families should have some presents to open on Christmas,” Kiara Kajenner said. “(Everyone should also) have a supper to eat together.”
Ashley Osmand, 16, Scott Pylypow and Kajenner, 16 — all PCHS students — lifted boxes of food and gifts from the storage space into their vehicles and soon enough into the homes of those in need.
One home in particular was more than grateful for the donation when the students walked inside her front door.
“We’re a little tight this month,” said Mona Fraser. “This helps out a great deal; as long as we have food and a house over our heads we have happiness.”
Fraser can’t work because of mental health conditions and therefore doesn’t have a pay stub for her AISH cheque this month. There are four people living in the household, one who rents the basement, but with her husband receiving close to no work in the last month, it’s been hard to make it.
“This will enable us to help out the guy downstairs too,” Fraser said. “The economy has really taken a toll on us.”
As the students closed the door and wished her a Merry Christmas, a very grateful Fraser had a smile on her face.
Round 2 for the students led to a home with a single mother and children aged five months, two and three years old.
When the boxes arrived, three-year-old Deshawn Soosay took a dive into the presents with a determined look on his face.
The mother was not available for an interview at the time but the grandmother to the children mentioned the children’s mother just received a cut back on her family allowance and has been struggling.
The three students left each home with a smile and warm Merry Christmas wishes.
“I’ve volunteered for Santa’s Anonymous for the last three years in one way or another,” said Osmand. “I really enjoy helping these families out.”
With a turkey in Pylypow’s arms and the girls giggling with boxes, it made for an important reminder of what Christmas is about — giving.