With the season of giving right around the corner, the Kaleo Collective has even more little Santas stepping up to show single moms how much they care.
The Little Santas program expects 500 children to sign up and give their moms a gift in December, more than double the number from last year, said Layna Haley, founder of single-mother support group Kaleo Collective.
“We’re most proud of being able to help so many,” Haley said. “We love that the demand is increasing. We serve the whole Edmonton area. We have moms who will come from as far away as Lacombe or Westlock for this.”
Haley started Little Santas last year to provide the children of single mothers an opportunity to give a gift to their moms during the holidays.
“Oftentimes relationships are strained or some mothers are widowed. We decided it would be so fun to give these kids a gift they can give their moms. Every child wants to make their mom’s day,” Haley said.
More than $10,000 was received last year for the gifts.
Children and their mothers can sign up for the program online and Edmontonians who want to help can donate $50, which goes towards a gift such as candles, clothing or bath products.
On Dec. 11, the children will go to a “Little Santa’s workshop” that will be housed in a tent at Socrates Restaurant in St. Albert where they can choose a gift for their mothers.
A team of volunteer “elves,” some decked out in hats and green aprons will wrap the gifts on site for the kids.
But Kaleo knows that holiday gatherings with loved ones isn’t complete without some quality time, and the children will also receive a packaged meal of lasagna and fresh salad, made at Socrates, and a gingerbread house to take home and enjoy with their mothers.
Haley hopes this year that enough Edmontonians donate so that all the children on the waitlist can help give their moms a gift and have a meaningful meal together.
“Seeing that sparkle in their eyes makes this all worthwhile. They feel so proud giving those presents. Honouring their moms is so important for kids. It’s really heartwarming to see a community rally together at Christmas,” she said.
People can donate to the program or register to be one or more little Santas on Kaleo’s website at https://kaleocollective.ca/events/little-santas/. Donors will receive tax receipts.