Rocky Mountain Outlook – Originally published December 4, 2014.
Christmas came early for Banff’s Santa’s Anonymous and Canmore’s Christmas Spirit campaigns.
The two Bow Valley charities, which provide food and toy hampers to families in need over Christmas, received a donation of more than 5,000 toys each from MasterCard Canada on Sunday (Nov. 30).
As part of their Priceless Surprises campaign, the credit card company is surprising people and organizations with gifts over the holiday season. The company had planned to deliver a truck full of toys mid-week, but Friday’s snowstorm delayed the arrival until Sunday. They kept the big donation a secret, however, and didn’t tell either organization who they were or how much they were donating.
“They kept calling, saying they were on their way. At first I just told them to bring the donation to my house because I had other plans on Sunday and figured I could just bring the toys in with me on Monday,” Adamson said. “But they insisted I meet them at Town Hall and now I’m glad I did.”
When MasterCard arrived, they asked Adamson to come outside to see the donation, and she was surprised to see the Priceless Surprises transport truck full of toys.
“It was incredible,” Adamson said. “I was so surprised. I never expected this to happen.”
Bow Valley Christmas Spirit campaign board member Patti Furlong said it was also a big surprise for her organization.
“The word we got was toys were being delivered and a big truck showed up with a lot of toys, thousands of them,” she said. “We are absolutely thrilled.”
The toy donations will be packaged with food hampers and Santa’s Anonymous will deliver them to families in Banff and Lake Louise who are in need over Christmas. Christmas Spirit will deliver food hampers to families in Canmore, the MD of Bighorn and Morley as well.
As for the extra toys, those from Banff will support other hamper programs and homeless shelters in the region.
Furlong said the Christmas Spirit board is discussing how to share the toys with other communities in the valley and the Foothills “that weren’t as fortunate as us to receive this fantastic gift.”
With the huge donation of children’s toys, Furlong added there is a need still for gifts for teenagers in the community and recommended gift cards from local businesses as a worthwhile donation to make to the campaign.
While the huge toy donation is a boon for Santa’s Anonymous, they’re still collecting cash/cheque donations in order to purchase fresh, healthy food for the Christmas hampers. In a new move for 2014, Santa’s Anonymous is no longer collecting food donations, and will instead purchase all food to ensure it’s of the highest quality.