By Kim Hutchison
Students and staff members from PCHS voluntarily manned tables at Extra Foods from 9:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Dec. 1 and were back at Extra Foods again before moving on to Hamilton’s IGA from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 2 all for a great cause.
Volunteers were encouraging shoppers entering the stores to donate toys and/or non-perishable food items on their way out as part of the 2008 campaign for Santa’s Anonymous Stuff-a-Bus event.
Originally, Santa’s Anonymous began in 1954 when Edmonton’s 1080 CHED Radio’s (which soon became CHED 630 and reaches roughly 75 per cent of Albertans) Jerry Forbes announced it would be great if every needy child got a brand new present on Christmas Day. For the first few years CHED staff ran the program on the second floor of the building and presents were given to a few thousand children. Now, more than 25,000 presents are delivered each year in Edmonton alone, not including other Albertan communities that participate as well.
Ponoka’s Santa’s Anonymous began on Nov. 13 and runs until Dec. 11. There are boxes located at many local businesses where new toys can be dropped off. New toys can also be taken to PCHS.
On Dec. 15, the boxes from various locations will be picked up and taken back to PCHS where classes will be invited to the gym giving students an opportunity to create gift hampers all afternoon. All presents that were collected on Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 will also be included in the making of these hampers. All food collected on Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 will also be taken to PCHS on this day and students will sort it into food hampers as well. The finished hampers will be delivered after school on Dec. 17 by students, staff and parents who have signed up to do so. Last year, with everyone’s help, 75 gift hampers and 135 food hampers were given to families in Ponoka.
“I was involved with this campaign for a few years but played a minimal role,” said current head organizer and teacher staff adviser at PCHS, Karen David. “When the former principal who spearheaded the program retired, I took it over. It is a huge commitment but making and delivering those hampers is a humbling experience that makes it all worthwhile. We’re also getting more students involved this year making it that much more enjoyable.”
PCHS student volunteers Kelsey Slater, Jalene Skaley and Kaylana Reaney were at Extra Foods from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 1. They thought the support they were receiving was great and didn’t mind lending some of their time for such a worthy cause.
“Christmas is a time of giving,” said Slater. “We’re happy to volunteer our time to make it more enjoyable for so many people.”
With everything from teddy bears and board games to heaping bags of groceries, volunteers did a great job collecting and Ponoka, once again, did a great job giving generously to those in the community in need. On Dec. 1 seats and isles of one of two school buses were already overflowing with treats and toys for girls and boys and food for those in need.
The grand total of hampers created and delivered this year will be available on Dec. 17.
For more information phone PCHS at 403-783-4411.