Giving gifts of hope - Metro US

Giving gifts of hope

A local charity is offering Edmontonians a chance to give gifts of hope this Christmas in an effort to pile hot meals, warm beds and days at summer camp under its tree.

The Hope Mission 2009 Christmas Gift Catalogue is an online life-saver organizers predict will inspire locals to purchase presents many take for granted.

“This is a way to help people who have neither home, nor comfort, from the comforts of home,” Hope Mission spokesman Peter Gerber said.

The donation gift program’s website catalogues essentials, priced by the amount the charity spends to shelter, clothe and feed the homeless.

Tables full of hot food for up to 30 people are offered for up to $81. One person can be fed a meal a day for $985.

A week of shelter costs $140.

Essentials like toiletries, blankets, toques, gloves and warm winter jackets are touted as “stocking stuffers” and can be purchased for under $100.

“Homelessness is hard to imagine, because we all have homes, typically. If you’ve ever run outside without your coat, you realize how valuable it is,” Gerber said, adding the initiative reaches multiple recipients because gifts can be purchased in honour of another person.

Children will benefit from the campaign through gifts of after-school care, hot lunches and days at Brightwood Youth Summer Camp — a Hope Mission ministry near Evansburg.

“If we can head off the downward spiral of poverty and addiction in kids, they’re less likely to end up on the streets,” he said.

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