Volunteers are pictured at the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, where they were picking up gifts for the 50+ Angel Tree Program. Amy Oakley (far left) and Shauna Beaulac (far right) are the organizers of the Angel Tree program. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman)

Volunteers are pictured at the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, where they were picking up gifts for the 50+ Angel Tree Program. Amy Oakley (far left) and Shauna Beaulac (far right) are the organizers of the Angel Tree program. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman)

Angel Tree program gets gifts to 161 Cranbrook residents

The program continues to grow every year

Seniors in the community are being taken care of this Christmas, thanks to the 50+ Angel Tree program with Better at Home.

On Wednesday, December 22, volunteers lined up at the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce to pick up presents for the 50+ Angel Tree Program and deliver them to more than 160 recipients.

Shauna Beaulac, Amy Oakley and Wendy Bond are in charge of the program. Beaulak and Oakley were at the Chamber last Wednesday to greet volunteers to ensure they had the right packages.

“This program has been running since 2019, when I came up with the idea,” explained Oakley. “I always picked an angel from the children’s angel tree and the Joseph Creek seniors angel tree. Then, I thought, what about the people that are still at home, but alone at Christmas time?”

Oakley put the word out, and shortly thereafter she was connected with Laurie Harris at Better at Home.

“The first year we had 75 recipients, 150 last year and this year we have 161. So there is clearly a need for this program,” Oakley said. “It always surprises us how the recipients ask for such basic things like socks and blankets, chocolates or coffee makers. It should be a program all year long. We think it will continue to grow.”

She adds that they have thought about extending the age group, as there have been requests for single parents and other young people in financial hardship.

“It would be great if we could get there, but it’s already an undertaking with the 50 plus age group,” Oakley said.

Each recipient fills out a card with their gender, age, and three wish list items. Recipients also receive cookies, a colouring book, felts, and food. Timbits were given out to the volunteers who helped with delivery.

Oakley said that the community really comes together to make the program possible.

“Last year, Bread and Butter in Kimberley put a sign on their shop asking for donations. They used the money to bake cookies for the angel tree recipients and they have done so again this year,” Oakley explained. “The Fire Hall [Kitchen & Tap] in Cranbrook has also cooked turkey dinners for all 161.”

Volunteers also help to organize and wrap all of the presents before they head out the door.

“We really want to thank the community. We put the limit as $25 but people buy everything on the list and more,” Oakley said. “Shauna also posted online asking for cash donations, and with that money we were able to buy a walker for a lady. There’s so many people without family and we’re just grateful that this program can bring them a little happiness at this time of year.”

READ: Fire Hall Kitchen & Tap spreads the love with 500 frozen holiday dinners



corey.bullock@cranbrooktownsman.com

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Volunteers were at the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, where they were picking up gifts for the 50+ Angel Tree Program. This year there were 161 recipients for the program. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman)

Volunteers were at the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, where they were picking up gifts for the 50+ Angel Tree Program. This year there were 161 recipients for the program. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman)