The Grinch won’t steal Christmas for needy children, if Stettler and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) has its way.
Last week, culprits stole a donation box full of toys, which was inside Stettler Wal-Mart.
Sgt. Duncan Babchuk of the Stettler RCMP said the incident was reported last Thursday and is believed to have occurred last week between Tuesday and Friday.
RCMP are waiting on video surveillance at Wal-Mart to help identify the person(s) responsible.
“We’re hoping something comes out of that,” Sgt. Babchuk said.
Theft of food or gifts from hampers is a regular occurrence in many communities, he said.
“It’s unfortunate. It’s a charitable organization and it is an important time of year for the hamper society.”
“It is disheartening,” said Janelle Robinson, president of Stettler Christmas Hamper Society, which has operated in town for 33 years and has never had any thefts.
“We got Scrooged.”
But, Robinson said, FCSS doesn’t want the theft to deter people from donating. The hamper society has spoken with the managers of the stores where all the other hampers are located and security has been increased at all locations.
“They are keeping a better eye on them,” Robinson said.
Donations of items can be made until Dec. 19 at Canadian Tire, Peavey Mart, Dairy Queen, FCSS office, Party Maxx, Wal-Mart and Savage Value Drug Mart. Monetary donations, to enable the FCSS hamper society to purchase specific items, can be made at the FCSS office and Gitzel Krejci Dand Peterson.
The FCSS lacks items for teenagers, such as hoodies, clothes and personal hygiene products. The group is also in need of toys and cold-weather clothing for all ages.
“We make sure they have gifts and that they have clothes to do them for the year, and enough food so they can have a wonderful holiday,” Robinson said.
The Stettler Kinette Club is also busy with a pajama fundraiser to provide new pajamas in the hampers for children.
Last year, 121 hampers were delivered to help the less fortunate in Stettler and area.
“Stettler is such a caring community,” Robinson said. “The true heart of our town shows up and is visible at this time of year.”
The deadline to apply for a hamper is Friday. Applications are down this year and Robinson urges anyone in need to go to the FCSS office, located at 4720 — 50 St., in Stettler.
“The ladies there are wonderful and will help (with the forms),” Robinson said.