Calgary charities are struggling to keep up with demand to help make Christmas brighter for some Calgary families and are asking the public for help.
According to the Calgary Sun, the Calgary's Salvation Army is playing Santa to an increasing number of families, already handing out 500 more Christmas assistance packages this year over 2011.
"There's more need in our city ... 30 per cent of those coming to this program are new to it," Capt. Pam Goodyear of the Salvation Army told The Sun.
She said its supply of gifts for kids six to 12 "are running critically low, which is very unusual."
Despite the increase in demand, the number of donations has remained about the same as last year.
The Magic Of Christmas, another Calgary-based organization that helps destitute families around the holidays, is feeling a similar pinch. Last year they supplied over 350 families with gifts, necessities and referrals to support groups in the community, but this year a lack of donations may prevent as many visits.
"This means that we are unable to purchase the gifts for the age groups we normally do not receive many donations for, which are the pre-teen and older age groups," the group said in a press release.
The Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter is also looking for help in the days leading up to Christmas. While donations usually pour in this time of year, 2012 has been a different story.
Director Ann O'Donnell told CBC Calgary that the shelter relies on donations from the holiday season to last all year.
"With the cash donations we would buy gift cards for our clients. We would also buy the toys we need, but if someone wants to give something tangible, we certainly could do with some toys and some basic clothing needs for the women at the shelter," said O'Donnell.
"Moms have birthdays, and the kids have birthdays, so it gives us the ability to make people feel as comfortable as possible and not to miss those special occasions in their life."