The generosity can sometimes leave Adam Zawadiak speechless.
“It’s amazing. I’m sometimes at a loss for words when I see all the people coming together –- especially in this weather,” said Zawadiak, Christmas Bureau executive director, referring to the frosty -18 C temperature outside.
It was still dark Saturday morning when about 50 volunteers started moving boxes full of food across an assembly-line conveyer table, out the door of a school gymnasium where frozen turkeys and butter were added before being loaded up for delivery.
“They know the important work that we’re doing and the fact that we’re making a difference in people’s lives, and they come no questions asked,” said Zawadiuk.
Tony Lee is one of the many coaches, parents and alumni of the Edmonton Chargers football club who have made volunteering for the effort an annual tradition.
“People need help this time of year -– all year long, mind you –- but this is the time of year that this club has made the commitment to the Christmas Bureau. It’s a great cause, and it’s something that we feel it’s important as a club to do,” he says.
Bob Newman’s truck is next in a long line of vehicles waiting to load up boxes. He said he’s been volunteering with the Knights of Columbus to help the Christmas Bureau for about 10 or 15 years, and brought his grandkids this weekend to help him carry the boxes for a couple of hours.
“We want to make sure that these people have a decent Christmas,” he said.
As of Saturday, the Christmas Bureau had reached just over half of it’s fundraising goal of $1.3 million. The charity has been providing festive meals for families, seniors and individuals in need for 81 years.