Voucher program returns in Smoky River

The Jean Cote Quilting Club donated 19 hand-made quilts to the Smoky River FCSS Christmas Voucher Program in 2020. Left-right, are quilters Marie Dubois and Carol Parker. “They make quilts for us each year and they are given to families that apply for the vouchers,” Smoky River FCSS director Crystal Tremblay says.

Richard Froese
South Peace News
The Smoky River Christmas Voucher program is back this holiday season to support families and individuals.
Smoky River Family and Community Support Services [FCSS] leads the program in the Falher and McLennan areas.
FCSS director Crystal Tremblay expects a higher demand for the vouchers as many people continue to struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We handed out 68 vouchers last year that served a total of 194 individuals,” Tremblay says.
“No one truly knows how many will apply, but because of the number of new food bank applications we have been receiving, we are expecting more applicants this year.
“Unfortunately, there are a lot of individuals and families that have been experiencing financial hardships in our area.”
Anyone who faces financial difficulties is urged to apply.
“We encourage those who have been affected by job loss or a significant wage decrease, as well as all low-income individuals and families, to access this program,” Tremblay says.
She also invites those who have received vouchers in the past to apply.
All personal information in the application is confidential.
“We are here to assist in keeping this Christmas season as normal as possible,” says Tremblay.
Voucher applications are available at the Smoky River FCSS office located in the Town of Falher building and offices of the Town of McLennan, the Village of Girouxville and Village of Donnelly.
People have plenty of opportunity to donate toys, money and other items to the program.
“We remind people that we accept donations for children up to the age of 16, so please keep in mind that we have the older children that tend to be forgotten,” says Tremblay.
FCSS suggests board games, art supplies, makeup or sporting goods, are great options for teens.
Santa donation boxes are located throughout the Smoky River region.
Red Apple hosts its annual Toy Drive from Nov. 20 to Dec. 11 and its annual Fill-a-Sleigh Day on Dec. 11 with toys donated to FCSS.
McLennan Home Hardware also plans to have a donation box.
Toys can also be donated at the FCSS office in Falher.
FCSS will accept donations of toys and money at the Moonlight Madness in Falher on Nov. 26 and at Light-Up in McLennan on Dec. 1.
In the past, the program has offered a voucher of $75 for a single, $100 for a family of two, $150 for a family of three, $200 for a family of four or five and $300 for a family of six or more.
For more information, please phone Smoky River FCSS at [780] 837-2220.

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