Staff at the Saint Lawrence Centre in Grande Prairie are trying to make sure upwards of 70 regular shelter users have a special Christmas this year. Project Lead Jared Gossen says they are currently looking for people to sponsor individuals through the Gift of Love Program.
“This is an opportunity to have families that have enough to share, go out and think intentionally about an individual and put some more thought into providing a gift for someone who needs it.”
In previous years, the centre has asked people to provide its clients with clothes and shoes but due to a lack of storage space for users, things will run a bit different this year.
“This year Gifts of Love is going to focus on folks purchasing a high-quality backpack, putting a gift card in there for a meal for an individual, a pair of gloves and some Christmas goodies.”
Gossen says for some people in a shelter, just knowing someone is out there thinking of them around the holidays can make all the difference.
“During the holidays, life in a shelter or a drop-in shelter is pretty isolating and it’s pretty depressing and so any opportunity just to regain humanity and just to have that moment of, ‘wow, someone really is thinking about me.'”
Gossen says they currently have the names of 70 regular centre users on their list but expects that number to rise to about 90 as Christmas gets closer. Right now they have between 30 to 40 sponsors for those people.
Anyone interested in sponsoring someone through the Gifts of Love program can get in touch with the centre by emailing [email protected].