Members of the Airdrie RCMP and Airdrie Fire Department will lace up their skates and battle it out on the ice this weekend, in support of the Airdrie 1st Club.
The Sirens Charity Hockey Game, which is set to take place in Airdrie on Dec. 4, will support Airdrie 1st Club’s annual Christmas Hamper Program.
“Our emergency services are always helpful,” said Helen, the president of the Airdrie 1st Club, who requested her last name be withheld from publication. “They are always willing to do anything for the community. They really like our charity because our charity helps people in need during the holiday season. It gives them a hand up so they can have a happier time during the holidays.”
To gain entry into the charity game on Dec. 4, organizers are asking for a donation of winter hat and glove sets, boxes of chocolates for seniors, and/or gift cards.
In a normal year, the charity hockey game – which is now in its third year – would include a toy drive element. Because of COVID-19 restrictions and because the club is doing a gift card program, the ask is a little different this year.
“We have limited space where we can store stuff, so we decided we’d like to provide a set of mitts, hat, or scarf for this winter season,” Helen said.
Helen said she feels this will be one of the event’s biggest years ever, because there are so many people in need.
“We need to help to be able to give these people help,” she said.
The way the hamper program works, according to Helen, is people go through a referral program that consists of a submitted form. A screening process is completed, and those who are chosen are given gift cards for food, which Helen hopes will give people in need the opportunity to enjoy a Christmas dinner.
“We also give gift cards for each person in the family,” she said.
Along with winter clothing and chocolates, Helen said the club is asking for people to also donate gingerbread houses.
“The gingerbread houses will go to families with children, the chocolates will go to adults and seniors on our list,” she said. “It will give them something to do, because they’ll get their hampers on Dec. 19, which gives them time to get their groceries, gifts, and maybe put together a gingerbread house which would be fun.”
While people are always in need at this time of year, she said the surge in demand is likely related to economic difficulties brought on families by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year, because the CERB benefit shut off, I just find people are having a hard time finding work or making ends meet,” she said.
The Airdrie 1st Club, formerly known as Airdrie Lioness, provides a number of services and supports in Airdrie, according to its website.
“Quite often you will see our red-vested club members helping out at the blood donor clinics or acting as an ambassador for Airdrie at various city-wide sporting events,” the site stated. “Your children or grandchildren just might be having fun while on playground equipment donated by us while you are watching them from a donated bench.”
The Saturday charity game will start at 7 p.m. at the Ron Ebbeson Arena. In order to enter the arena, attendees must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, a recent negative COVID-19 test result, or proof of a medical exemption. Masks are also to be worn inside the rink.
For more information or to donate, visit airdrie1st.com