Organizers report overwhelming support for Santas Anonymous

·2 min read

Donations to Santas Anonymous from both the public and businesses were overwhelming this year, and as of Jan. 11, they were still coming in.

The Jasper Community Team Society (JCTS) oversees the operation of Santas Anonymous, which started on Nov. 12 with an official application deadline of Dec. 12.

"There was a real recognition by individuals as well as businesses that it was really tough this year," said Hannah Basso, who co-chairs the JCTS with Les Dolan. "People really stepped up."

There's an increase in the number of folks helped, from 190 in 2019 to at least 220 this year.

And even though final numbers aren't in yet, Basso said they exceeded their goal of $20,000.

"We have fully funded the project for 2020 and we will hopefully have some carrying through for 2021, because we anticipate another tough year,” she said. “Our hope is that everything goes well with the lockdowns, treatments and vaccines."

Donations took many forms, from cash to gift cards to items such as stuffed animals. As well, proceeds from a raffle of a detailed gingerbread house donated by Jasper Park Lodge, valued at $400, went to Santas Anonymous.

Also, as direct donations from individuals and businesses, folks contributed via the December Project, the Crafty Cousins trio, the Jasper Hockey League, the Mittens Line at TGP, and TGP itself and the snowball fight between TD and CIBC where people donated funds in exchange for a paper snowball that was displayed at the respective banks.

Distribution of goodies donated was done from Dec. 15 to 17 by volunteers.

"There were a lot of gift cards being issued this year, mainly to local businesses - at least 90 per cent," Basso said.

All in all it was a successful season, with Basso emphasizing that Santas Anonymous "is about social inclusion and involvement.”

Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh