Marla Mackiewich (left)

Marla Mackiewich (left)

Santas is ready for Christmas

Santas Anonymous provides toys to needy children throughout the North Okanagan at Christmas and all year long

Barbies, puzzles, Lego, stuffed elephants and board games are just a few of the delights awaiting parents at Santas Anonymous.

Since 1989, the non-profit organization has been providing gifts to needy children at Christmas and birthdays all year long.

Now is the time for families to make an appointment at Santas to pick up gifts for children ages birth to 12 years living anywhere in the North Okanagan.

The organization relies not only on the support of the community to provide both gifts of toys and cash, but also on its dedicated and longtime volunteers such as Carolynn Smith and Joan Maxnuk.

“We have 101 things to do: making up the kits, toys to be washed, fixing up the dolls’ hair, getting them dressed,” said Smith, who has been a volunteer with Santas for about 20 years. “I love it here, we have families who break down and cry when they come in to get gifts for their kids, telling us that if it weren’t for us, they wouldn’t have Christmas.

“We love what we do, there are a good bunch of people here.”

A volunteer since 1999, Maxnuk said for kids who are a little older and maybe have lost interest in playing with toys, gift baskets are made up that include a wide variety of items, from jewelry to shampoo, wallets to gift certificates.

“It makes us so happy to see parents picking out gifts for their kids,” she said.

There are always plenty of things besides toys that Santas can use. Smith said any and all sewing notions are most welcome, such as fabric, thread, lace and yarn.

“We make up clothes for dolls and other things, so we run out of fabric a lot. And we always need wool because we have a lovely 85-year-old lady who makes the most beautiful outfits for dolls. She said it makes her happy to do this for us.”

Anything Santas can’t use is donated to other non-profit groups, such as the Family Resource Centre, Teens Count Too, NOYFSS, Transition House and local elementary schools.

In addition to donations of gifts and cash, Santas is always in need of artificial Christmas trees that can be given to families in need.

Santas Anonymous is now taking appointments for parents or caregivers to pick up gifts for their children. Everyone who comes in has their name entered in a draw to win an electric keyboard or an enormous stuffed horse or teddy bear.

To make an appointment, call 250-542-4448. Starting Jan. 5, Santas will be open Tuesdays for parents to pick up birthday gifts.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lindsay Palmateer, a Salmon Arm mother of six, succumbed to her injuries after a serious crash Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, south of Enderby. (Contributed)
‘She was everyone’s caretaker’: Salmon Arm mother of six remembered

GoFundMe campaign exceeds goal already for family involved in deadly crash near Enderby

Canadian author Paul Young, who wrote the critically acclaimed novel, the Shack, will join Vernon-based foundation, the Emily Dahl Foundation, for a Fireside Chat event in June 2021. (YouTube)
Bestselling author to be keynote presenter at Vernon event

The Shack author Paul Young to join with Emily Dahl Foundation for summer Fireside Chat

The Vernon Winter Carnival Society, in conjunction with the Stor-it Place, will award two $500 scholarships to a pair of Grade 12 students. (Morning Star - file photo)
Vernon Winter Carnival offers up scholarships

Two Grade 12 students can win $500 scholarships in conjunction with Carnival and The Stor-it Place

North Okanagan Minor Hockey Association coach Rory Taber (left) accepts donations of new equipment for some local players from former NHL player Jason Podollan and his Up My Hockey brand, courtesy of Bauer Hockey. (Photo submitted)
Ex-NHLer sets up North Okanagan kids with new gear

Jason Podollan teams up with Bauer Hockey to help out some worthy families with new hockey equipment

The exhibit is set to open on Nov. 13. (File)
UBCO recieves $1.9M for cleantech hub

UBCO campus will help develop and commercialize clean technologies and create up to 50 well-paying jobs

Brett Forsythe battles it out in a game of singles pickleball on ice at Okanagan Training Rink Thursday, Jan. 7 in support of the Vernon Food Bank. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Pickleball play hits the ice in Okanagan

Rivals battle it out in support of the food bank

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

Kelowna International Airport. —Image: Capital News file
Kelowna International Airport saw 64% decrease in passenger numbers in 2020

The airport said these numbers haven’t been seen since 1997

A rendering of the proposed development, called 2020, adjacent to other currently underway projects in the area. (Contributed)
Proposed 46-storey tower dubbed ‘2020’ would be Kelowna’s tallest building

The building was proposed two days after council approved a 42-storey tower on Leon Avenue

  RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)
‘Dangerous situation’ inside busy Kelowna store prompts police presence

27-year-old man apprehended after threatening to harm himself inside store

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

City of Salmon Arm Coun. Chad Eliason goes public with the information he went to Mexico over Christmas. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm councillor travels to Mexico over Christmas holiday

Politician says he regrets decision and didn’t consider the ramifications

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

Most Read