• Lorna Hamilton

Santa Anonymous Switched Gears This Year


Members of the Lions with a donation box. Photo submitted

For many years the Lions Santa Anonymous program has collected toys and provided food hampers to help families in need within Vermilion, Mannville, Minburn, Islay and Clandonald, but this year they had to switch gears and find an alternate method of helping families during the holiday season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year we abandoned the idea of collecting toys or provide food hampers, but instead ask the gracious members of our community to donate cheques, cash, and gift card donations,” explained Lions member Barry Clampitt.

Donation boxes were set up in the banks, drug stores, grocery stores, and other retail businesses and remained there until a few days before Christmas.

“We did very well again this year and with the donations received we provided gift cards from Cornerstone Co-op and AG Foods in place of providing the food hampers and we also purchased chamber bucks from the donations so the recipient could go buy the toys or clothing or whatever they wanted for their children,” said Clampitt. He also went on to say that he thinks it was a great alternative.

This year the gift card and chamber bucks were mailed to the recipient instead of being distributed personally.

“One reason we changed the distribution method was to allow for the physically distancing measures due to COVID. A lot of our distributors are above the age of 60 and we thought mailing it to them would be the safest way to do it,” added Clampitt.

The number of recipients was up a little from last year with 79 families, approximately 208 individuals receiving help from the Lions Santa Anonymous. Clampitt also went on to say that they hope to return to the usual way of the program of collecting toys etc., but that they would like to know the thoughts from people on how it was executed this year.