It's that time of year again - when Weyburn's generous spirit can be felt by all walks of life and when people come together to make sure others can experience blessings and joy.
Just two years ago, Weyburn's Salvation Army Food Bank was regularly making public appeals for contributions. Now, the community has stepped up and has provided a way to keep the food bank shelves stocked. A number of local organizations and businesses continually channel food donations - which means no one in the community should have to 'do without' this Christmas.
Christmas, for some, is a time of extravagance. Vacations and new material possessions are easily afforded and, thankfully, many of those people also give back to the community.
"Weyburn is very, ridiculously, generous," Lieutenant Melissa Mailman of the Salvation Army corps in Weyburn.
For others, however, the holidays can be stressful because of financial strain. Some families simply can't afford all of the extras and, some years, they are forced into debt - just to have special food and some presents under the tree.
"Just to see the smile on their kid's face - I get that!" said Mailman. "But it's not worth risking your family life, your home, everything."
A Salvation Army Christmas food hamper is a way to ensure Christmas is not a burden. The gifts given are enough to fill up the space under any Christmas tree and the food is more than enough to stock a cupboard with everything anyone would need for the holidays - down to every detail.
The Christmas Assistance hamper application process is as simple as visiting the Salvation Army at 126 Fourth Street between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on November 19 through 23. Applicants require a proof of address (a recent bill is preferred), a Saskatchewan Health Care card and their financial information.
"If there is that family who are super shy, or maybe a little bit proud, I will do a private application over the phone," noted Lieutenant Mailman, clarifying that having to come in person will often prevent some families from applying. She added that they do often receive phone calls suggesting people who should receive hampers, but the normal application process still must be followed. For more information call 842-2280.
Mailman reminds the community that the food bank is a bank, in which residents put in and get out at different times. She also noted that it is a hand up, rather than a hand out, for those in need.
"We are not judge and jury," said Mailman. "Our job is to love and help people and to meet them where they are at." She noted that they have a vary effective screening process.
Although the food bank is well-stocked for the upcoming holiday season, Mailman said she would like to see more donations of 'goodies'.
"Throughout the year, I'm always asking for healthy snacks," she said, "but at Christmas time, I would also love to be able to give goodies, like a box of chocolates, or candy, or something like that."
Some families like to share their abundance by participating in the Adopt a Family program. Since the adopting family creates the entire Christmas hamper, shopping for the adopted family can be an enriching experience for all ages.
For people who prefer giving that includes eye contact, or who just want to give their spare change, the Salvation Army's kettle campaign begins next Friday.
Volunteers are needed for the collection campaign, to fill two-hour spaces at various locations throughout Weyburn. To sign up for a kettle shift, contact Helen Orsted at 861-4599.
The Adopt a Kettle program can be a great way for businesses or individuals to show their support. In fact, some kettles are adopted in memory of loved ones.
The kettle campaign runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays starting at noon, from November 23 until December 24. It is the Salvation Army's sole fundraiser for the year.
The Holiday Train will visit Weyburn on December 17, providing free entertainment for all, as well as an added seasonal boon for the food bank.
The Salvation Army Christmas Supper will take place on December 21 at 6:00 p.m. at the Captain's Hall. Everyone is welcome to attend. The meal is an anonymous gift in kind, to be shared with the community.