Better at Home’s Laurie Harris said there was 79 gifts given out last year, with about five being to people in Kimberley, and they are hoping to see a few more names from Kimberley added to the nomination list this year.
“We had made the conscious decision from the very beginning that we wanted to get a tree up in Kimberley as well, but we just didn’t get it done last year,” Harris explained. The tree, where angel cards can be picked up, is located again at the Cranbrook Save-On-Foods.
READ MORE: Cranbrook 50+ angel tree program underway
“So this year comes around and of course the program has gone racing forward really quickly again and although we didn’t get a tree up in Kimberley, we have, with the help of a really dedicated, mountain-moving team, managed to get a pickup and drop off location and get several more people in the Kimberley area who are needing a little bit of extra merry in their Christmas this year.”
How it works is, on the one side of it, there are people who need a gift or who may want a gift, and on the other side is the people who actually pick up an angel card and sponsor those gifts.
“We’ve got this up and rolling, I’ve now identified the team in Kimberley that is willing to move mountains and is really enjoying doing this thing and so we’ve set a really solid foundation for the Angel Tree project next year,” Harris said. “Next year we will get a tree up in Kimberley and it will all work like normal.”
Normal, Harris explains, entails Better at Home receiving nominations of people who may feel a little left out or sad This Christmas, who would love to see a gift under their tree.
“We’re targeting people 50 years and older, and ultimately there are no real other criteria for it, other than that people just really are needing a little extra support to get through the Christmas season and aren’t really expecting too many gifts under the tree,” she said. “So it’s mostly aimed at those people who don’t have a lot of family and friends around, that maybe who have lost a partner or are just feeling a little bit down in this season.”
They get the nominations and remove the names from the scenario, so only anonymous information is put on the cards that are hung on the tree at Save-On-Foods in Cranbrook. People can either come down to the location to pick up an angel card, or they can contact the above information to be assigned one virtually.
The cards have the nominee’s top three gift requests on them and Harris said they suggest a $25-maximum value on gifts.
“We’ve received many gifts that are over and above that value because we have such a generous community, but this isn’t meant to break the bank it’s just meant to be a lovely thought.”
Then, up in Kimberley, if you’ve sponsored a gift you can drop it off at The Bean Tree and Better at Home’s Kimberley volunteers will go and pick them up, wrap them, and deliver them to people before Christmas day.
Harris said they’re doing all of this as COVID safely as possible, being mindful of small group gatherings for wrapping and limiting delivery teams to two people who are in the same bubble.
“We just hope that it’s a really nice addition to the already happening holiday projects that are going on in Kimberley,” Harris said. “I know there’s a few gift projects and hamper projects so we hope that this is just one that will address that older segment of the population that might be a little more alone this year.”
Harris said she’s extremely grateful to all of the Kimberley volunteers and the organizing committee, as well as the numerous organizations that have helped to make this possible, including The Bean Tree, Bread & Butter Bakery, Kimberley Community Paramedic, Healthy Kimberley’s Food Recovery program and the Cranbrook and Kimberley Chambers of Commerce.
Harris added that the Bread & Butter Bakery is doing a “paying it forward” program. People can sponsor a treat box and every Angel Tree gift recipient in Cranbrook and Kimberley will be receiving a treat box from Bread & Butter.
People can go online or go to the Bread & Butter to sponsor one of these boxes for $6.
Additionally, Healthy Kimberley’s Food Recovery program is chipping in a frozen meal or a meal voucher that will also go to each recipient.
Nominations for Angel Tree gift recipients closes on Dec. 14.