Another reason for the (Thanksgiving) season

Adam Zawadiuk, CFRE, Executive Director

By default, I’m a city boy – born and raised here in Edmonton.  

Growing up, when friends or family members who grew up on a farm started talking about harvest time, I really didn’t have a clue about what they were talking about. Sure, I understood the mechanics of it – but I never truly understood the importance and the significance of the process.  

Having been with the Christmas Bureau for two years now, I’ve realized that we’re in the midst of our harvest season now – and how important and significant the work we do over the next few months will be for so many people in our community. 

While I won’t be climbing into the cab of a tractor anytime soon, and our team won’t be worrying about the moisture content of canola, the work that we do now will have an impact well into the cold winter months – and beyond – just like what the hard-working farmers in our province are preparing for. 

We’ll be speaking with donors, attending fundraising events, and working together with our community partners to ensure there is joy on every table this season.

In three short months, volunteers will be knocking on doors across the city, helping us deliver 1,800 hampers to individuals and families in need. Over 7,000 teenagers will be receiving a Walmart gift card, giving them an opportunity to make their own Christmas purchases for themselves, their friends, or their family - and another 14,000 families will be receiving a food gift card, allowing them to purchase the items they need the most to create a festive meal for their family. 

As the poet William Blake said, ‘The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.’

I can assure you that I am most thankful for the Christmas Bureau community – our donors, our volunteers, our community partners. With your help and support, we are making our community a little bit better each and every day, and for that I thank you. 

Volunteer Appreciation Week

For many not-for-profits in Edmonton, including the Christmas Bureau, April is the month we celebrate and thank all our volunteers that have given the gift of time.

Steadfast, committed, and selflessly helping wherever there is need, there is no denying that our volunteers are the heart of this organization.

In 2022, we saw a 69% increase in clients served; nearly triple the amount from previous years.

And in response to the significant demand for our services, our volunteers worked close to 9,000 hours filling hampers, building boxes, crafting cards, coordinating bottle drives, helping at local festivals, selling 50/50 tickets, mailing gift cards, and delivering food hampers to people in need before Christmas.

And that’s just part of the story.

Christmas may be a seasonal holiday, but our organization is operational all year round - and our volunteers are with us every step of the way, including community partnerships like Metro Cinemas Society, who have recently joined forces with us during Volunteer Appreciation Week.

“Volunteering is the act of going beyond yourself simply for the benefit of someone else. It’s the giving of the one commodity you can never get back. The most precious one you have. Your time – and for that reason alone, it’s value is immeasurable,” Judy Miller, Volunteer Services Manager.

Volunteers are essential to the engine that drive change. Their time, their dedication, and their commitment to helping others will always be celebrated not just for Volunteer Appreciation Week, but every week that follows.

Spring, the season of renewal

Adam Zawadiuk, CFRE, Executive Director

There is no question that once the snow melts and colder temperatures turn to warmer days, there is a change in mood and transition with welcoming a new season. The ground thaws, our days are filled with sunshine, birds are building their nests, and greener pastures are revealed.

I guess you can say it affects our community too. People (and communities) are genuinely happier this time of year and eager to welcome spring - a season of renewal and a precursor to those carefree summer days ahead.

Sure, the holiday season has come and gone for 2022; it was just 3 months ago. But for our team at the Christmas Bureau, this means planning for the 2023 season is just around the corner.

"But, I thought you were just a seasonal organization?"

Yes, we hear that a lot. Seriously, a lot.

Operational all year long, it takes our team 10 months to plan, coordinate, and execute food service deliveries to over 60,000 people during the holiday season. No easy task considering the need for our services has almost tripled in 2022. From our dedicated volunteers, community partners, and donors, it took (takes) an entire community to help a community.

Recently, I was honoured to participate in the Pipe Ceremony at St. Francis of Assisi in recognition of the beginning of the Spring Equinox. The Elders and the Indigenous community acknowledge this season and ceremony not only as new beginnings and renewal but as new opportunities for food. Traditionally, this meant many Indigenous communities would travel throughout the year and settle into new places where animals would migrate to, thus making food sources more available - Spring is no different. To be welcomed by the Indigenous community and have the opportunity to participate in this traditional ceremony was an incredible experience and a reminder that we need more food security within our community, especially now.

To quote my favourite Mandalorian, "this is the way." This is how to start a more significant path for families, seniors, individuals, and youth.

So, we implore you to find new ways to help during this season of renewal. Whether it’s your time, monthly donations, fundraising efforts, or corporate sponsorships, everything everywhere and all at once will make an incredible difference before December 25.  

Ways to help this spring

2022 at a glance

The numbers are in and we have nothing but thanks and gratitude to all our dedicated volunteers, community partners, agencies, media supporters, local businesses, and donors for making the 2022 season memorable. 

Thank you immensely for your continued support - you are our joy. 

Your Impact

It starts with people like you

It’s your turn now.

The Christmas Bureau of Edmonton is searching for new members to serve on its Communications Committee, Finance Committee, and Governance Committee.

Whether you’re in tech, government, corporate, post-secondary, agency, social services, health care, or entrepreneurship, it’s your turn to be part of an organization that has been serving the community and proudly giving back to families, seniors, and youth for over 80 years.

Learn more here

Help out our friends at Taste of Edmonton

Do you love summer? Love tasty food and live music? Do you love meeting new people?  

We have an amazing partnership with our friends at the Taste of Edmonton that is only possible because of amazing volunteers like you!  

Here are the details:

  • July 20 to 30
  • Located at Sir Winston Churchill Square 
  • 4-hour or 8-hour shifts
  • Free parking
  • Live music
  • Complimentary food tickets per shift

Sign me up! 

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