This past weekend was a busy one for the Airdrie 1st Club, as they handed out 370 Christmas hampers for those that needed them this holiday season.

Helen Gitzel, president of the Airdrie 1st Club, said the need was greater this year, compared to last.

"We had 370 families that qualified for our hampers. We were able to supply all 370 of them with the hampers."

Donations went really well this year, The Airdrie 1st Club was able to set up on the south side of the Quest Braces building to have a place to assemble the hampers and have Airdronians drop off donations there.

"All of Airdrie came through with e-transfers, dropping off gift cards,  gifts, money, and cheques, it was incredible to be there and watch it happen."

The Friday before the busy weekend, a large donation of potatoes from the Teschetter Hutterite Colony was dropped off to help fill the hampers.

PotatosPotatos donated by the Teschetter Hutterite Colony

When it came time to hand out the hampers, on Saturday all the hampers were moved to the Airdrie Transit building and Sunday was the day they were all handed out.

"We had eight cars driving at the same time, and we'd give them their hampers; we'd open the doors, and eight cars would drive out and another eight would come in, so everybody stayed fairly warm apart from the doors opening up. But it was fantastic."

Many community members and businesses were more than willing to help out when needed, including the 88 Lynx Air Cadets, members of Airdrie Council, Heather Spearman, Tina Petrow, Ron Chapman, and Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown.

Lynx88 Lynx Air Cadets with members of the Airdrie 1st Club and Ron Chapman in the back left.
Airdrie 1stAirdrie Mayor Peter Brown with Heather Spearman on the far right with Airdrie 1st members and Enbridge representative on the left.
More photosCouncil members Tina Petrow, and Heather Spearman with Airdrie 1st Club mascot Nessie and member Grace

For Gitzel, it's so hard for her to describe how this event makes her feel.

"When you start to look at those massive numbers at the end of November, it doesn't look like you have enough money to do it. Then suddenly, people came out of the woodwork with money; it was insane. I feel humbled to live in such an amazing community where we put our people first."

Of course, next year's goal is to provide fewer hampers because that would mean fewer people would need help during the holiday season.

"My goal for next year is the same as it was this year, to be able to help those who are qualified and who need our help."

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