Operation Mrs. Claus was a socially-distant holiday giving initiative
Inside The Tampon Book. Photograph: Cedric Soltani/Studio Dropped
Socially-Distant Holiday Giving – Operation Mrs. Claus

While 2020 has required us to adjust to a completely different way of living our lives, the change hit me as the socially-distant holiday season came around. Last year, I helped rally a group of women leaders in Regina to form the Help Us Help Her committee – a group dedicated to uplifting and supporting at-risk single mothers during the holidays. The HUHH committee organized a traditional Christmas dinner for 400 moms and their kids, complete with activities and gifts, so that these families in need could enjoy the holiday spirit together. Avana was a proud sponsor, and we were so pleased to support our local shelters and community programs.

Effects of the Pandemic on Lower-Income Families

The HUHH committee had great expectations for this year’s dinner, but we had to adapt creatively with a socially-distant holiday initiative instead. Not only has COVID-19 changed the way we interact and socialize, but it has also profoundly affected lower-income families.

Layoffs and decreased wages or hours are just two of the ways lower-income families feel the pinch during the pandemic. Less money means less economic activity and security. It also means much more stress and uncertainty. Demand at food banks is at peak levels – and a staggering 40% of Regina’s Food Bank clients are children. Shelters cannot meet the need for a safe place to stay with thousands of families left unserved in Regina each year.

Developing Operation Mrs. Claus for Socially-Distant Holiday Giving

The need to support our communities is critical now more than ever. Over Zoom calls and FaceTime, the HUHH committee brainstormed how to make a holiday giving initiative socially distant while still providing necessities. And so, Operation Mrs. Claus came to be.

We caught wind of the reality that many kids were without adequate winter clothing for the season ahead and finding all the snowsuits we could was priority number one. Knowing how many kids rely on the food bank, buying hampers of food for them and their families was priority number two. And injecting a little holiday spirit by providing toys was priority number three.

Avana provided a 22-foot enclosed trailer to house the snowsuits, food hampers, and toys for distribution to over 250 kids. The committee tapped its network for donations, vinyl-wrapping the trailer with logos of corporate donors and contributors. And through December, the trailer has been making stops at shelters, schools, and neighbourhoods where deserving kids can safely grab their goodies outdoors.

Continue to Give What You Can

As the holiday season draws to a close, I am grateful for the contributions and support that made Operation Mrs. Claus a success. However, the work to help support those in need is far from over as the pandemic continues to make waves across the country. As winter settles in and people hunker down, please consider continuing to give what you can to support those in need.

To donate, please visit:

Regina Food Bank

YWCA of Regina

Further Reading…

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