The talk of the year has been the global economic crisis with most of the attention focused on the United States. Many companies are seeking bailouts, or any kind of help to try and stay afloat during this time. People have lost money in the stock market and people are holding on tightly to their money.
With the Christmas season upon us, it seems like less spending on gifts will be done this year, it is a universal trend.
Although money may be a little tighter this year, it will always be even tighter for someone else. What is just in reach for you may completely be out of reach for someone else. People who weren’t that well off to begin with are more likely to be even worse off following this economic downfall.
According to Stats Canada, the 2006 census showed there were over 6,500 people who called Ponoka home. There were 700 parents who had kids to care for and 360 single parents who had to provide for their kids.
The average price of owning a house was over $195,000 and rent rates were over $600 a month.
Median earnings in Ponoka were under $56,000 after taxes in 2006.
Prices, rent and the like have spiked since 2006 with wages remaining virtually the same, combine that with the money everyone is losing and things have gotten worse than previous years for our town’s working families.
On the surface it may not seem like poverty is an issue in Ponoka but there are many services and drives that are used to help those who need it.
During the Christmas season Ponoka Composite High School students will be collecting food, toys and gifts in order to make Christmas hampers. The students have already been active in Stuff-A-Bus, where they stationed themselves at Hamilton’s IGA and Extra Foods to try and encourage people to donate to Santa’s Anonymous and fill up their school bus.
Last year they had a room full of gift and food hampers and students went around to houses and handed them out. The students reported that the reaction of the people who they gave the gifts to was overwhelming and they received a new outlook on the town.
This year these students from PCHS will be doing the same things and they need the help of the town to be able to provide good cheer to families who are struggling this Christmas.
The Ponoka Food Bank has been a staple in our community as well and needs to be well stocked this Christmas.
Businesses and organizations in Ponoka have drop off containers to provide for an opportunity to donate, others have had food drives and incentives to help collect for and support the local food bank.
On a more national note, the holiday train will be arriving in Ponoka on Dec. 11 to collect money for families facing a challenging winter and everyone is encouraged to be there for an afternoon of fun, entertainment and an opportunity to give.
Other organizations are in need for donations so that they can benefit people in need, locally, nationally and globally.
The global economic crisis may motivate families and community members to grab a tighter hold of their wallet during the Christmas season but it’s important to think of all those in need this holiday, who can’t even afford what is usually taken for granted.
The town has been doing great with giving and I encourage everyone to loosen up their purse strings and contribute what you can to our local charities, organizations and groups so that they can go out and provide a better life this holiday for our neighbours in Ponoka.