Single Parent Association looking for more donations for teens this holiday season

The Christmas season brings with it a time of cheer, gratitude and giving back to those in need, but often donations of food, clothing and toys target infants and the elderly.

The Single Parent Association of Newfoundland says there's one demographic that often goes overlooked — teenagers. 

"This time of year the single parent families, any families, are facing how to prepare for Christmas for their children. You know it's stressful, there's one source of income, it's very disheartening at times," Elaine Balsom, executive director of SPAN, told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.   

Balsom said donations were slow coming into her organization at the beginning of the month, but as Christmas Day draws nearer the pace is picking up.

She said providing Christmas items to single-parent families helps that parent free up money to pay their bills.

Paula Gale/CBC

Balsom added that there's a noticeable increase in traffic to the organization's food bank during November as single-parent families begin to prepare for the holiday season.

"We have single-parent families who are having to decide whether to pay their electrical bill, or put food on the table, or single parents who are not eating themselves so they can have food for their children to eat," she said. 

Clothing and more

Bluenotes, a clothing store in the Village Mall, really helped get the ball rolling for items focused on families with teens, she said.

According to Balsom, the store donated $3,600 in clothing to SPAN.

"Perfect for this time of year. It couldn't have come at a better time," she said.

But SPAN is looking for more than just clothing. Donations can be something as simple as a gift card, Balsom said.

"Being able to shop for something for themselves, clothing or maybe one of the food places in the city, takeout places," she said.

"They like going with their friends to have lunch and things like that. It's a group that's often overlooked, and this year a lot of our families coming through have teenagers."  

Right now, the group is taking donations for Christmas from Monday to Friday at its headquarters on Logy Bay Road. Donations for the organization's thrift store, however, are not being accepted until January, as it is currently at capacity.

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