Blackfalds is gearing up to give all residents happy holidays this year with their inaugural #BlackfaldsXmas challenge. The Blackfalds Christmas Bureau, Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), Blackfalds Food Bank Society, and the Blackfalds Fire Department is inviting the community to give back this holiday season to support families in need. 

The Blackfalds Christmas Bureau supports over 100 families, including 300 children with food hampers, gift cards, to ensure that every child gets a gift on Christmas. 

“We are trying to raise some funds in the form of gift cards and donations in the form of non-perishable food items for our Christmas hampers. What we've done is we have challenged our local businesses. We put some information out hopefully get some businesses challenging each other and doing a bit of a social media challenge, and taking pictures to raise awareness about what we need and hopefully getting a bunch of donations for us,” said Sue Bornn, Manager for the Blackfalds FCSS. 

The FCSS is preparing to meet the need this year after several families continue to recover from the economic effects of the pandemic. 

“We're definitely seeing lots of applications crossing our desks every single day this month and our deadline is the 26th. So, we still have a ways to go, and we're already at the same numbers as last year. So absolutely, the need is going to be great,” said Bornn. 

In addition to needing additional support during the holidays, Bornn noted that more families in the community are coming to the food bank. However, Bornn noted that the food bank has really been growing to meet that need. 

“Our food bank is actually they saw some pretty significant changes this year. They moved locations, they have been the recipient of some fabulous grants, and they're doing some expanding. Our food bank's going to be seeing a collective kitchen in the future. We've got construction going on up there right now. They're getting a big walk-in cooler and walk-in freezer installed thanks to some amazing grants,” explained Bornn. 

The food bank is also working with the local food mesh program that helps to provide additional food.  

From November 15th to December 3rd, businesses are invited to collect donations and challenge other businesses to do the same using the hashtag #Blackfaldsxmas on social media. Bornn hopes the initiative creates a bit of friendly rivalry for local businesses as well as shares some positive news with the public. 

“Hopefully, people will get on board and we'll see some social media action. I know in our pandemic recovery as we continue, a lot of people have been affected by different things and a lot of our businesses are maybe needing some good media and what a great way to do that.,” said Bornn. 

Families that wish to receive support this year from the program can click here for more information on applications and eligibility. Blackfalds FCSS will be accepting applications until November 26, 2021.