Christmas made merrier

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Nampa/Northern Sunrise Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) are kicking off a couple of campaigns to help make peoples’ Christmases merrier and brighter.
The Christmas Gift Card Program will run until Dec. 9, collecting donations to help purchase gift cards to help people who need it this holiday season.
“We will collect donations and nominations until mid-December,” says FCSS director Amber Houle.
“We prefer cash donations because then whatever we receive through the campaign can be evenly doled out to the families.”
Members of the community are asked to reach out to FCSS to let them know who could potentially use some assistance through the holiday season.
“This program is a little different than most because we don’t ask for proof of income,” says Houle, adding that often people from local businesses, schools or the community will notice when someone could use a little help and will reach out to nominate them for the program.
Houle says she and her staff write personalized Christmas cards to everyone who will be receiving cards. Local grocery stores are used to purchase the gift cards, so families can get their groceries locally.
FCSS has also erected a Christmas Tree in its office to hold gently-used or new winter clothing items for their Giving Tree Campaign.
Houle explains many members of the community require help to collect proper winter gear to keep warm in the winter months.
“People who need help have access to items we collect throughout the winter,” she says.
“We are looking for donations of any winter gear, including hats, mitts, coats and snow pants.”
She explains they reach out to local schools, Sagitawa Centre, the Women’s Shelter and ICare to see if they have any need for the items collected.
In addition, the program is also collecting gently-used blankets that will be donated to In the Woods Animal Shelter. The blankets are used for animal bedding in the colder months.
“Alicia started collecting blankets for the shelter last year and it went really well,” says Houle.
“It’s an opportunity to give to the local shelter that does so much for animals in our area.”
Winter gear items will be accepted and doled out throughout the winter, but there is a large push to receive as many donations as possible before mid-December.
Gently used winter gear, money and gift cards to local grocery stores can be donated to the programs by calling Amber at 780-625-3287 or by e-transfer at

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