The Secret Santa Foundation launches its 38th annual campaign on Tuesday.
The effort aims to help less fortunate families in Saskatoon by providing them with toys and food hampers for Christmas.
Foundation board member Nicole Semko said it wasn’t a typical campaign last year with the COVID-19 pandemic but that didn’t matter.
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“It was completely virtual (in 2020),” Semko said.
“And in typical Saskatoon fashion, everyone stepped up and made a lot of monetary donations so that we could still fulfill our mission.
“Our donors and the community itself always step up to help those in need in spite of challenges that their own families might be going through, they always seem to find that little extra something to help somebody else out in our community.”
The campaign was founded by the late radio personality Denny Carr, who wanted to ensure that all of Saskatoon’s children would receive a new toy at Christmas.
“It was started by Denny Carr, who of course, was quite a beloved radio personality here in the city,” Semko said.
“And that simple idea still grows strong 38 years later and … we’ve now served over 50,000 families and over 100,000 children.
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This year, Secret Santa is once again accepting new, unwrapped toys for children in the community.
“We typically do a minimum of 800 families, and that’s around 3,000 individuals, 1,000 of which are children,” Semko said.
“Some families have had some really tough times over the last few years and even outside of COVID and the challenges that have impacted families in that way.
“And so we just really feel we need to do our part in the community and we rely on the citizens of Saskatoon and the outskirts of Saskatoon to help us achieve that and we’re very grateful for that.
This year, distribution to the families will be altered.
“Typically, the families will come and we distribute to our families just before Christmas in one day. This year, we’re going to do it over three days just to be mindful of the safety of our volunteers and family,” Semko said.
“Beginning Dec. 16 … families will come to our location, our depot that we have out on Miller Avenue and we will distribute that with volunteers and in a, I guess, a drive-thru sort of curbside pickup.”
People looking to support Secret Santa can drop off toy donations at community partner locations within Saskatoon, Martensville and Warman.
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