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Santas Anonymous hoping to raise $50,000

To help with fundraising efforts, Santas Anonymous will hold its annual silent auction and dance event this coming Saturday (Nov. 20) at Melissa’s, kicking off at 5 p.m.
Santas Anonymous

BANFF – Santas Anonymous is in need of support to help make the upcoming holiday season a little brighter for people in need throughout Banff and Lake Louise.

The community-based initiative, which has been run by a team of volunteers for the past 37 years, is hoping to raise $50,000, especially given people continue to struggle from the ongoing financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tanya Piercey, coordinator of Santas Anonymous Banff & Lake Louise, said there was a record-breaking 900 applicants last year compared to the average of between 400 and 500 in a typical year.

“We believe the need is going to be the same again this year,” she said, noting Alberta food banks are reporting a 30 per cent increase in demand as businesses, individuals and families have not recovered financially from the COVID-19 shutdown.

The increased cost of food, gas, utilities and health costs throughout the Bow Valley is creating a perfect storm for a financial crisis for many people.

Piercey said there is an identified need in Banff and Lake Louise, which is amplified during the holiday season when financial stress is exacerbated.

“Our communities were hit hard during the COVID lockdown and it was costly for all,” she said.

“But it was truly devastating for our most vulnerable group – families, seniors on fixed incomes and individuals with health challenges who struggled on with a lack of income, food insecurity and isolation.”

Unlike last year, government COVID food security grants are not as readily available so Santas Anonymous is relying solely on the generosity of individuals and businesses throughout the Bow Valley to help raise $50,000.

To help with fundraising efforts, Santas Anonymous will hold its annual silent auction and dance event on Saturday (Nov. 20) at Melissa’s. The silent auction kicks off at 5 p.m. and there will be bands playing throughout the evening.

Families are welcome and children may attend until 7 p.m., with auction items available for bidding for children during that time.

Piercey said Santas Anonymous is grateful to the owners of Melissa’s for the support, adding that all COVID-19 protocols will be followed to make sure the event is safe.

“The desire in the community to give and care for those in need is truly heartwarming,” she said.

A second fundraiser, called Fill Your Freezer, kicked off on Nov. 12 and runs until Nov. 22. People can stock up and enjoy local and restaurant quality meats, sausages, cheese boxes, pies, chicken, pizza and the ever-popular box of bacon.

To take part, go to the link at santasanonymous.myteamfund.ca. The deadline to order is Nov. 22 and orders will be ready for pick-up at the Fenlands recreation centre on Dec. 2.

For anyone wishing to donate this year, in-person donations can be made at Banff Town Hall or Santas Anonymous has set up e-transfer for financial donations – SantasAnonymousBLL@gmail.com.

More information is available at www.santasanonymousbll.ca.

Applications will open on Nov. 22 to those on the Banff ACCESS program, recommended through a helping agency and those in financial need. The application deadline is Dec. 6.