Secret Santa is in need of a new organizer.
For the past five years, Michelle Schaub has organized the annual Christmas collection of gifts and financial donations to help less-fortunate families in Hay River and on the Hay River Reserve.
However, Schaub is looking for another volunteer or group to take over the role because of her work and life commitments.
“I work three jobs,” she said with a laugh. “So work is a little hectic.”
Schaub explained she found her time organizing Secret Santa to be very rewarding.
“It was something that just made my heart grow a little bit more each year just seeing the families that you would be able to help, the smiles on the kids’ faces,” she said. “It just really made you feel like you’ve done your part to help the community.”
And Schaub said she would most definitely like to see Secret Santa continue.
“I believe that it’s something that the community needs and I’m just sorry that I can’t continue on with it, but the next group or person that takes this over I think they’ll find it as rewarding as I did.”
As of last week, Schaub noted there had been no concrete interest from anyone interested in taking over Secret Santa.
Organizing the annual collection involves a number of duties and a time commitment of about a month and a half.
“The first to the 15th of November is usually when you need to start getting things organized, working with the different groups in town,” said Schaub.
One of the organizations helping out is the Hay River Fire Department and its Toy Drive. The department and the RCMP also deliver the donations once they are collected.
Each year, about 100 families are helped at Christmas.
The organizer also places collection boxes at some businesses around town, and arranges for volunteers to wrap the gifts.
The names of the families to receive donations are supplied by a number of organizations.
“It takes a little bit of work to get it all done,” said Schaub. “But when you see the smiles on the families’ faces and how much they appreciate it, all of that makes it all worth it.”