The Courier

The 4 Wing Angel Tree inside the CANEX Mall – Photo by Mike Marshall

A festive way to assist Canadian Armed Forces members at 4 Wing during the holiday season is underway.

The 2021 Christmas Hamper and Angel Tree program is up and running. Units across the base are now taking donations of various food items along with toiletries and other household items to make up the hampers, along with some creative ways at raising money to help out.

Donation boxes for the program are now out at various buildings and units around the Wing.

4 Wing Padre Oliver Edwards says the program is a way to show support to all members at this time of year.

“The hamper program has been running for a number of years. The idea is that families on the Wing might be struggling to make ends meet and, being a lower rank, maybe aren’t getting paid as much, so the chaplains pioneered this program where, as an entire Wing, we can see the units get assigned different hampers to put together which are designed to help them through the Christmas break.”

The Angel Tree collects toys for children who will be receiving a hamper this year. People can find a list of children looking for a sponsor on the 4 Wing Cold Lake Information Facebook page. 

“Families that are asking for a hamper who are looking for a gift, they need to provide their children’s ages and gender and we’ll give that information to people or units to buy the gifts,” explains Edwards. “They pick an angel, go shopping, bring the gift in unwrapped and then we have teams that will wrap the presents and distribute them along with the hampers.”

Edwards says in the last few years, about 25 families on-base have been recipients of the program.

“This year, we’re at 11 or 12 at this point. Normally once the time window closes, we get last-minute people. I expect us to be around the same area of 25 in total.”

The donation box outside of the Daily Goods inside the CANEX Mall – Photo by Mike Marshall

“It’s hard to have a goal with this program because it’s based on need,” adds Edwards. “If things are going well on-base, they might not need a hamper in the fall. In a year where we have lots of hampers going out, there might be other circumstances that are causing it, but it’s not anything we can push for.”

Members looking to receive a hamper or be part of the Angel Tree program just have to let the chaplain’s office know.

“If they are in need, please call the Chaplains office and our administrator, Collette, will take the information and distribute it,” says Edwards.  “In the past, we used to have people wanting to help their friends and they would nominate people, sometimes without asking. We had a few bad instances with that so we now only provide hampers to people who ask for them.”

The last day for donations is pegged at December 3rd. The Chaplains office says the hampers will start to be put together by the units on December 6th with appointments for pick up soon after.

“There’s also another children’s gift campaign running right now in front of the Daily Goods in the CANEX Mall,” expresses Edwards. “They have a collection point to provide for children in the larger Cold Lake community who are in a similar predicament. I’m grateful to be in such a supportive community as 4 Wing and Cold Lake. The people here are just incredible.”

More information, including how to contact the 4 Wing Chaplains, is available online. 

 

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