Santa’s workshop coordinator Tracy Ell (left) and volunteer Gail Schalin sort through the stuffies donated to the annual tradition in Enderby.

Santa’s workshop coordinator Tracy Ell (left) and volunteer Gail Schalin sort through the stuffies donated to the annual tradition in Enderby.

Workshop a busy place

Donations are steady at Santa’s Workshop in Enderby, as it prepares for the early December shopping events.

Donations are steady at Santa’s Workshop in Enderby, keeping volunteers busy as they prepare for the early December shopping events.

To make the most of the last week before the workshop closes to set up for shopping, it will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 25 to 30 to accept final donations of new and gently used items that make good Christmas gifts.

Volunteers will then close up shop to prepare for the Kids Only Shopping Spree Dec. 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. and Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This event allows kids up to age 12 a chance to do some Christmas shopping for the people on their lists with some help from the workshop’s elves.

“Adults stay outside while the kids make their selections from our huge array of affordably priced items,” said Tracy Ell, who co-ordinates the annual event with her sister Jackie Pearase.

“We wrap all their gifts so they get to surprise everyone on Christmas morning – if they can keep the secret that long. Some of them don’t make it out of the parking lot before spilling the beans.”

Santa’s Workshop began in 1996 as a way to provide seniors with a way to be involved in the community by mending toys that would then be given to children in need for Christmas. It evolved within a year to include toys for Christmas hampers provided to families by the local food bank, and a kids’ shopping event was added the following year.

Shopping events for seniors and teens and adults also joined the line-up, and while the Enderby food bank has been the main beneficiary over the years, other groups have received part of the workshop’s proceeds.

“A lot of credit must go to Angela Killen, who co-ordinated the workshop for a decade, for providing an excellent model to help community groups while giving kids a unique shopping experience,” said Pearase.

There is also a Seniors Shopping Spree Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a Teen and Adult Shopping Spree Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Anyone wanting to help with this Enderby tradition is asked to contact Pearase at 250-838-0466 or Ell at 250-838-0994.