Members of the REALTORS Association of Lloydminster and District donated 150 turkeys to the Salvation Army Food Bank on Tuesday for Christmas hampers for those in need. The association has been donating Christmas turkeys for more than 30 years. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO
The REALTORS Association of Lloydminster and District will ensure Christmas dinner is delivered on time to those in need on the wings of holiday turkeys.
RALD donated 150 turkeys to the Salvation Army on Tuesday for Christmas hampers, adding to the total of more than 3,000 turkeys the association has donated over the part 30 years or so.
“It’s something we feel we want to do for the community,” said Ryan Topley, president of RALD.
“We factor it into the budget for the board every year and part of the fees that we collect from the Realtors goes towards that.”
The presentation of turkeys, some topped by Santa caps, followed a Realtors’ day of bell ringing for the Salvation Army Kettle campaign on Dec. 6.
Volunteers took a turn on the bell at Sobeys, Real Canadian Superstore, Walmart and the Lloydminster Co-op Marketplace, as part of another Realtor tradition dating back 25 years.
“Donations from our ‘Gift of Christmas’ gift drive were delivered on Dec. 4 – with, as always, numerous gifts, cash donations and gift cards from all of the Realtors,” said Topley.
Associated Realtors from Wainwright and Vermilion also make a donation each year in those communities to support their respective food banks and Santa’s Anonymous charities.
“We consider all of these very worthwhile and rewarding projects involving the whole community,” said Topley.
Topley said it’s important to give back to the community because there’s a need.
“There’s more need now than there ever has been and we are very blessed in this community that we have been able to help the people through buying and selling homes, and we feel we want to give some of that back,” he said.
Pat O’Doherty, a corps officer for the Salvation Army, said the food bank counts on groups like RALD every year to donate food for the holidays.
“The turkeys go into a Christmas hamper and that helps families at that time to be just like everybody else and to not have to worry about what they are going to give their kids,” said O’Doherty.
“Their kids can go to school and say they had a wonderful Christmas just like everyone else.”
Just as the Realtors wrapped up their annual photo op at the food bank, more than 2,000 pounds of food and $400 cash rolled in the door courtesy of the City of Lloydminster employees.
“We see the people who come in throughout the year and they are kind of chewing their nails wondering how they are going to make it through another day, and for us, we kind of have a similar stress because we go ‘oh my goodness how are we going to help these people,’” said O’Doherty.
“So when groups like the city come in, that alleviates our stress and that enables us to alleviate the stress of others.”
Youth volunteers from the Paradise Valley Church of God will be helping to pack the Christmas hampers tonight at the food bank, which O’Doherty calls “another amazing yearly thing” that happens.
“We so appreciate these people who come in because this would be a massive job to do without people like these groups that come in and help us,” he said.