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Lethbridge Family Services' Angel Tree Christmas Campaign gets underway


Item by item, gift bundles are already being packaged for more than 3,800 people in Lethbridge for this year's Angel Tree Christmas Campaign.

"In January, we start gathering hygiene items for the kits that we give to the teens and the tweens," said Karen Nemeth, campaign co-chair.

"We have people sewing bags that these hygiene products are put in.

"We have people that are donating all the time."

Now in its 31st year, the campaign run by Lethbridge Family Services (LFS) collects donations to gift to children throughout the community.

Last year, the campaign helped 3,500 people, with more expected this year.

Each gift bundle will include an item on the recipient's wish list, something inspirational to fuel their imagination, something educational and a warm and fuzzy item such as a teddy bear.

"Families who are receiving the gifts from Angel Tree walk among us here in the community," Nemeth said.

"They are people we go to school with, that we see in stores, that we work with and that we go to playgrounds with."

There are 132 drop-off locations.

Organizers say the impact the campaign has on volunteers is unlike anything else.

"Sometimes, when they know the circumstances of a child behind the gift and they read what they put on their Christmas list -- for example, food -- it gets really hard and emotional," said Sandra Mintz, LFS CEO.

"I think that's where the volunteers really understand profoundly the importance of this campaign."

This year, Avonlea Homes has been announced as the presenting sponsor and has donated more than $19,000 to the campaign.

"We are in a community that gives," said Ron Tyslau, customer experience manager at Avonlea Homes.

"Our part is just a small portion of a very diverse tapestry of people that are engaged in the Angel Tree program.

"(And) it's celebrating 31 years of the Angel Tree program -- 31 years of bringing joy and bringing happiness and reaching those that we will never meet, we will never see, but knowing that on Christmas Day, that we have brought joy to their lives and to their families."

Donations will be accepted until Christmas.

"We create lifelong memories that will help families to get through some really, really tough times," Nemeth said.

A goal of $180,000 has been set for this year's Angel Tree campaign.

To register or find a drop-off location, visit Top Stories

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