Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad  Print this page

Gifts for kids in need

Jessica Klinkenberg
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 15/06) - In Centre Square Mall, a gingerbread house sits, waiting for donations of gifts from the community.

It's the second year the Royal Canadian Legion and the Salvation Army have teamed up for the Christmas Happy Tree project, collecting gifts for distribution to children who otherwise might not find a present under the tree this year.

Lorne Power, general manager of the Royal Canadian Legion's Yellowknife branch, said they're aiming to collect 300 gifts this year.

"Last year we collected over 200 donations," Power said.

The Legion looks after the collection of the gifts, while the Salvation Army handles the distribution.

Major Bob Mac Kenzie of the Salvation Army hopes that this year will prove again the generosity of Yellowknifers.

Mac Kenzie said he remembered the Nov. 30 opening of the Christmas Happy Tree program.

"All of a sudden a woman came in with three, four whopping bags full."

Mac Kenzie said that he expected the woman to just be dropping off a few gifts, but was shocked and delighted to see her putting all the large bags into the gingerbread house's chimney.

He said that the woman went on to tell him how happy she was to see the event taking place again and that she told him, "'This is my opportunity to share.'"

Mac Kenzie said the program helps families who may not be able to provide Christmas gifts for their children, which can make the season depressing for some.

"It changes a bleak, sad time into a happy experience," said Mac Kenzie.

He said the gifts don't necessarily say that they're from the Salvation Army. "It's a matter of saying that mom gave, dad gave," he said.

Mac Kenzie said they are looking for more gifts appropriate for kids in their early teens.

Power said that the Legion began the event in Yellowknife because they had seen it being done in communities across Canada.

"We only had the idea," said Power.

"It's the general public that makes it a success. It ensures that 300 kids in Yellowknife get gifts."

Unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at the gingerbread house at Centre Square Mall until Dec. 15.