Vouchers bring Christmas cheer to Smoky River

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Almost 60 families and households in the Falher and McLennan areas will have a special Christmas with support from their community.

Food vouchers were delivered Dec. 16-17 from the Smoky River Family and Community Support Services Christmas Voucher Program.

”This year, we had 68 individuals or families apply and qualify for the voucher program,” FCSS director Crystal Tremblay says.

“That is up from 54 last year.”

She expected the numbers and demand to rise and people struggle in the coronavirus [COVID-19] pandemic.

“We are aware that the financial climate this year is very different from previous years,” Tremblay says.

“We are recognizing that there is a large group of people who may be making a wage that is above the low-income threshold, but have seen a significant decrease in their income due to COVID.”

FCSS also encouraged those who have been affected by job loss or a significant wage decrease, as well as all low-income individuals and families to access the voucher program.

“Instead of $75 for a single person, we were able to give them $100,’ Tremblay says.

“This helped out greatly for the vouchers. We used all of the grant monies, as well as other donations that have come in.”

FCSS also received a grant from the United Way Alberta Northwest.

“That allowed us to increase the voucher amounts we handed out,” Tremblay says.

FCSS appreciates all the support and donations.

“Even though it has been a rough year, the generosity of the region has been overwhelming,” Tremblay says.

“We are so grateful for everyone who donated to the program.”

FCSS also thanks all the individuals who donated a toy or funds to the Christmas voucher program.

“Without the support of the community we would not be able to run this program,” Trem- blay says.

She also thanks the Falher Red Apple for donations from the annual toy drive Nov. 14 to Dec. 5 and the Fill-a-Sleigh Day on Dec. 5.

Red Apple raised $3,593 in toy donations plus $578.60 in cash.

That was up from last year where they raised $2,259 in donations.

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