(Stock image)

(Stock image)

Santa’s Anonymous Ponoka to hold first annual ‘Sleigh Run’

Ponoka Secondary Campus (PSC) is continuing its long tradition of bringing holiday cheer to those in need by coordinating the Ponoka chapter of Santa’s Anonymous.

“We fundraise, collect gift donations, pick up food donation boxes and collect monetary donations from individuals and corporations … and (have) done so for the past 40 years,” said Nicole Berg of Santa’s Anonymous Ponoka.

New this year, is the first annual Santa’s Anonymous Sleigh Run, which will be held on Thursday, Dec. 2 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

With the assistance of the Ponoka County and Ponoka County Fire department, volunteers will be lining up their fire trucks and receiving donations from the community.

“All donations remain in the community and provide food and gift hampers for local families and individuals helping better their Christmas season,” said Berg.

In the past, Santa’s Anonymous Ponoka has hosted their annual Santa’s Anonymous Charity Checkstop; however, the RCMP are currently not able to have any involvement in community fundraising.

“Thus the reason for this new campaign,” she said.

Santa’s Anonymous has gotten approval from Alberta Transportation to utilize the space that runs parallel with Highway 2A to the east of the VJV Auction Mart parking lot.

That is where the fire truck and ambulance will be parked to collect donations on Dec. 2.

Santa’s Anonymous Ponoka provides an average of 160 hampers each year to families and individuals in the community. Larger families may receive two food hampers.

Submissions are accepted until Dec. 13 and deliveries happen on Dec. 15 from 3:30 to 6 p.m.

They accept anything for the hampers and staff sort through to choose age and gender appropriate items.

“We always have a wide variety of age groups to provide gifts for, but often have a shortage of age appropriate items for teens,” said Berg.

A large food order of staple items is placed with the local grocery stores, which is the base for the hampers and Santa’s Anonymous provides a turkey or ham for each hamper as well.

Donations can be accepted until Dec. 17 when the school closes for Christmas break.