A charitable outreach organization serving families in need from Armstrong to Kelowna is in desperate need of sponsors for the 2022 Christmas season.
All Are Family Outreach founder Clary Lausnes says as of now, the Project Christmas Elf initiative won’t be happening this year, which means more families in need will be turning to their society for help.
“We are expecting to be swamped, and we struggle every year with not having enough sponsors,” Lausnes told The Morning Star.
Lausnes’ group of volunteers helps the community during the Christmas season by pairing families in need with sponsors who are willing to donate in the form of Christmas gifts and food hampers.
The families anonymously submit a wish list of gifts and the sponsors turn their wishes into reality.
For a society that Lausnes says is unaccustomed to turning people away, this Christmas season is shaping up to be a tall order.
“One lady that’s called me, she’s crying on the phone, she is desperate,” Lausnes said. “We’re seeing a lot more fear and desperation than we did last year. People are paring down their hopes for Christmas.”
The demand for All Are Family Outreach’s services is high this year. The society opened its applications for sponsorship on Tuesday, and within five minutes they received 10 applications.
“Our worst nightmare is to take somebody in and say ‘oh yes we’ll find you a sponsor’ and then we don’t have a sponsor for them, and then a week before Christmas (they’re) now without a Christmas hamper,” Lausnes said.
Those who wish to sign up as a sponsor can contact Lausnes via the All Are Family Outreach Facebook Page, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 250-503-4983.
Those who can’t afford to sponsor a family but would still like to help out can donate a gift card for fuel or groceries.
“We do get last-minute families in and we are often scrambling to cover them. If we have gift cards stashed away we can just give them those, that will take a lot of stress off,” Lausnes said.
Aside from the Christmas sponsorship initiative, the cupboards at All Are Family Outreach are running thin.
“We’re out of mac and cheese,” says Lausnes.
“When you run out of mac and cheese or Mr. Noodle it’s time to really wonder what’s going on because those are the two staples that everybody always donates.”