By Mamta Lulla

In the spirit of giving, many organizations donate Christmas hampers to families, and so does the Parkland Pregnancy Support Centre. But the pregnancy centre does it differently – making sure moms in the Tri-Region area have a Merry Christmas as well.
Executive director, Jan Gillett said she remembers the time when she went over to a young mom’s house to give her a hand with chores. She opened the fridge and saw pots and pans instead of plastic containers. She then started to look for plastic containers so she could transfer food and wash the pots along with other dishes.
“I realized she didn’t have any plastic containers. That’s why the pots were in the fridge,” she said.
Gillett said that’s the case for many moms, especially young moms, who can’t afford to buy containers or foil wraps. Such expenses are hard when moms are trying to put food on the table and a roof over their head.
“So they need a boost,” said Gillett.
That’s where the pregnancy support centre’s hampers come in handy. The hampers are made of food items but mostly focus on household items that not everyone can afford to buy, like, dish soap, lotions, shampoos and laundry soap.
The hampers also contain treats for moms like Christmas candy and chocolate that they can’t afford to buy.
“When you’re in survival mode, you don’t spend money on treats,” said Gillett.
The centre is open to donations and encourages gift cards so moms can get items that they need like diapers and car seats – in some cases.
Gillett said gift cards help us make purchases for moms and we purchase exactly what they need – something that would be useful to them. She encourages gift cards from Walmart and Superstore, because they have everything both moms and babies need.
The hampers also come with letters of hope – letting them know they are not alone.
The hamper program is in its fifth year. Last year about 21 hampers were given out and Gillett is expecting a similar number this year.
She said younger moms who often use the centre resources are the ones who receive hampers as well. She said single moms – especially young moms—often need budgeting help, time management help, reassurance and help with taking care of their baby.
“The need is not decreasing,” she said.
The centre supports moms in the Tri-Region area and those who live west of Edmonton.
To make donating easier, the centre is accepting e-transfer donations at hampers4hope@gmail.com. Donations and gift cards can also be dropped off at the centre between Tuesday to Thursday between 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 15B Alberta Avenue, Spruce Grove.
If you know of a single mother who can use a helping hand or if you are one, call the centre at 780-962-5505.
Share your story with us! Are you a single mom who has received a hamper or who uses the centre resources? Please email us at info@parklandcc.ca.