Holiday cheer is starting to spread across Nelson as Safeway has teamed up with first responders, the Adventure Hotel, White Leblanc Wealth Planners and the Salvation Army to help less fortunate families.
Safeway manager Lua Gerun says Safeway’s role is to provide a variety basket for those who may need extra help, or who might be struggling at this time of year.
“We make the basket with about $75 worth of goodies,” says Gerun. “In the basket they can expect to find a $25 gift card, and then there is $50 worth of product. Which usually translates into a day full of food including breakfast, snacks throughout the day and dinner.”
She says once baskets are complete they get forwarded to the other partners so they can include their items for families before they go out to the identified families.
“Last year, I was working with the first responders,” she says. “Once the baskets were gathered from Safeway we took them to the Adventure Hotel, and then from there they went out to families that have been identified.”
She says identifying where the donations go isn’t the job of the vendors, but the local schools since they have a better idea who should get assistance.
“I think schools can identify families in so many different ways,” she says. “We don’t know who the recipients are, but Lisa Schmidtke of the Nelson Police Department is the one that has gone to the schools after they determine who gets what.”
She says once the list of families is clear, if there are any excess donations they get distributed to the community as needed.
“Any leftover baskets go to the Salvation Army, where they have their way of identifying who needs what,” she says.
Gerun says this is the second year they have been involved and they have heard positive feedback about the Christmas drive. Itt could possibly expand if she can get more baskets finished with more volunteers.
“This is only city wide,” she says. “We have reached out to Blewett school and Brent Kennedy, but we just don’t go to Castlegar, Trail or Kaslo. They are just a little out of our reach, but if we can do more then maybe we can grow.”
She says people can help the drive by donating a toy, but if they are considering a toy they should make it for older kids.
“The Salvation Army still has a lot of donations for younger kids,” she says. “We are short on gifts for kids aged 13 and up, so we are really encouraging people to bring gifts for that age group.”
Gerun says people can help out by donating a gift, feeding a family with a food basket, or making a monetary donation.
Donations made to Safeway, for the baskets, will be rewarded with a coupon for a free breakfast at the Adventure Hotel.
First responders will be at the Adventure Hotel on Nov. 27 at 10 a.m. for the gift and food hand out along with Santa Claus and helpers.