Spirit of the season picks up in Fort McMurray

Spirit of the season picks up in Fort McMurray
HALOS donated $10,000 to the Centre of Hope in Fort McMurray on Nov. 24.Photo courtesy of HALOS.

The giving has begun in Fort McMurray, where a pair of announcements last week lead to $85,000 finding its way to those in need.

Syncrude started its annual Wood Buffalo Food Bank Drive with a donation of $75,000. Along with the corporate donation, about 150 Syncrude employees volunteer every year at more than 10 grocery stores across Fort McMurray collecting non-perishable food items and donations. The food drive helps support Wood Buffalo residents meet their immediate food needs while working towards long-term solutions to hunger and poverty.

“The support we receive from Syncrude each year helps,” Wood Buffalo Food Bank executive director Arianna Johnson said in a press release. “Our citizens and children never have to make the choice between a roof and food.”

Since its inaugural event in 2005, Syncrude has supported the food bank through $702,376 in funding support, in-kind donations and volunteer matching. The Wood Buffalo Food Bank looks to raise $360,000 and 75,000 pounds of food in this year’s drive.

“During these difficult economic times, the food bank needs our support more than ever,” Syncrude president and CEO Mark Ward said. “I would like to thank all volunteers, including our employees, who are taking part in this drive and challenge the community to give what they can to make this holiday season enjoyable for all families.”

H. Wilson Industries pick-up trucks will be stationed outside all grocery stores and Wal-Mart on Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cuddle up for charity

The Helping Assist Local Organizations Society (HALOS) meanwhile donated $10,000 to the Centre of Hope, described as a “worthy, local non-profit making a positive impact within our community,” through its 100 Hearts program.

The 100 Hearts Program brings 100 community-minded women together to give back to the place they call home. The program is a ladies network group aimed at supporting local charities and causes that need extra assistance. The women are tasked with voting for a non-profit that could use a helping hand.

“This donation will help our organization with laundry services for patrons of the Centre of Hope,” communication officer Barb Rex said. “We’d also like to express our gratitude for each and every special lady who cast her vote for us. This means so much especially during this time of the year.”

The donation was announced at the third event in an annual series. The group also unveiled a new fundraising teddy bear named HALO at a small Christmas bazaar at the get together.

“HALO is a special angel bear from the Teddy Mountain collection that will be sold locally and all proceeds will be donated to keeping local homeless in our community warm this season,” committee member Debbie Hahn explained.

HALOS was formed in 2014 to support non-profits in Fort McMurray. All 10 local non-profits were selected through applications made to the HALOS organization. To apply to the list of eligible non-profits, visit www.halosfm.com.

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