Residents with the Family Treatment Program will be celebrating Christmas a little differently this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers have set up a Christmas Carnival experience for each family. It will offer games, crafts, music, gifts from Santa, a festive family picture, and take-home treats in a physically distanced way.

“We will be bringing one family at a time through the ‘carnival’ set-up in our office,” explained Debbie MacKenize, the Family Treatment Program manager. “It’s an opportunity to get families out of the house for a mini celebration.”

The initiative helps bring some Christmas cheer to families as many are not able to afford presents.

Debbie said there are more than 100 children in the program, and that many local sponsors have helped with the purchase of presents this year.

“For many of the families in the program, holidays can bring on a lot of added financial stress,” she said. “Our hope is that by reducing some of the stress of the season, more of the magic can be felt and positive memories can be experienced together.”

Debbie said families may be feeling more isolated this year because many will not be able to get together or return to their communities.

“We are really hoping to bring some joy to the season and lift the spirits of each family,” she said.

The following people and organizations have contributed donations to the Christmas Carnival:

  • BASF
  • Unifor Local 1-S
  • Canadian Ridge Exchange
  • The Lobby
  • Cultivator
  • Family and friends of Family Treatment Program staff