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Airdrie holiday hamper program faces record demand – Calgary

Some volunteers in Airdrie, Alta. are working hard to provide support for the struggling this holiday season and their efforts will bring comfort and joy to hundreds.

Members of the Airdrie 1st Club are busy putting together their holiday season hampers.

The hampers contain items such as fresh produce, gift cards and handmade winter wear, some of which is crafted by club members, along with items made by others who donate their handiwork to the club.

Distributing the hampers to those in need in Airdrie has been a tradition for the club since 1977.

They’re now preparing more than 400 hampers, making it their busiest year ever.

Members of the all-volunteer club say part of that growth comes from increasing numbers of the working poor needing assistance.

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“They do have jobs, but they can’t make ends meet,” club member Donelda Johnson said, “and a lot of that is related to the economy.”

Among the people the club is supporting this year is Airdrie resident Caitlin Teichroeb, who lives with several health problems.

“MS, fibromyalgia, asthma” Teichroeb said. ”I’m struggling with disability.”

Teichroeb sometimes uses a walker and her conditions make it difficult for her to work. She’s very grateful for the hamper she’s receiving from the Airdrie 1st Club.

“The generosity, the kindness – it really warms my heart,” Teichroeb said  “Having that support is going to allow us to actually really enjoy the holidays and it just makes the world of a difference.”

With the help of sponsors and donors, the club provides year-round support to people in Airdrie.

“We give to the food bank, we give to the library, to the seniors’ residences,” club member Helen Gitzel said.

The Airdrie 1st Club will be distributing this year’s holiday hampers on Sunday, Dec 17.

More information on the club and how to support its efforts is available at Airdrie 1st Club.

The group’s volunteers say being able to connect with a wide range of community members is very rewarding.

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“We’ve had the pleasure this last year of meeting some of the Ukrainian families that have moved to Airdrie, helping with clothing, bedding, household items,” club member Rhonda Auclair said. “It’s been wonderful getting to know them.”



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