Santa’s visit prompts community giving



The Hope Mission requests donations of new clothing and personal hygiene items, including:

  • underwear
  • socks
  • gloves
  • body wash
  • deodorant
  • razors
  • toothbrushes
  • small packs of tissue
  • shaving cream

and new or used items including:

  • jackets
  • jeans (sizes 30-36)
  • hoodies
  • sweaters
  • long johns

You’d better not pout, just be grateful that a certain jolly old elf is once again coming to St. Albert for a special early appearance on Christmas Eve.

The North Pole announced that Santa Claus would once again be on the St. Albert Trail pedway located in between St. Albert Centre and the McKenney corner strip mall. He and Mrs. Claus always like to wave at the midday traffic and say hello to any pedestrians brave enough to join them in the weather.

This year, things will be a little bit different. First off, Mrs. Claus is staying home at the North Pole to supervise the elves and reindeer during their last-minute preparations. In her place, Missy Claus will help ol’ Saint Nick.

While they’re there to spread some seasonal cheer, they will also be prompting some good old-fashioned giving spirit by taking a collection for a prominent Edmonton organization that helps those who are down on their luck.

“During the time that we’re at the pedway, why not give back to the Hope Mission?” Missy Claus said.

Since 1929, the Hope Mission has been offering food and shelter to women, men and children who are struggling with homelessness in the downtown city core. On any given day, the organization says, it provides these services and more to 600 people. Its care programs include housing supports and addiction recovery efforts. It also operates a year-round sports facility, helping keep kids active and positive while staying off the streets.

The organization collects a variety of goods to distribute to its clients to help make their lives more manageable.

“People, if they want to, they can bring donations down to the bridge. They can see Santa, take a photo with him, and if they have anything they don’t mind giving to the Hope Mission, that would be great.”

There will be a large receptacle box placed on each end of the pedway. The Kringles will be there with their jingle bells on Sun., Dec. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This will be the first event put on by the new Gratitude Foundation, which will work year-round to benefit the Hope Mission and the ALS Society of Alberta. Founder Carly Murray explained that the organization works to build community support and help bring awareness to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease). This movement is her response to a recent family tragedy. Sadly, her brother recently passed away after a fight with the disease.

“It was a huge, huge battle with ALS. It was a pretty progressive case that we had to go through watching him,” she said.

She witnessed how the society offered so much love and support to him and the rest of the family.

“They helped exponentially for my sister. The resources they provided to assist us in even communicating with my brother-in-law as well as just in general, everything to make him comfortable, all the resources even to suit my sister’s apartment, which was very small to keep him in home … they were huge. They were so on point for us. I thought that I had to be a part of this. I just wanted to do something bigger than myself and try to give back.”

“I wanted to build a foundation based on that and give back to people.”


About Author

Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.