Archive for December, 2013

Helping at Christmas

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Helping at Christmas | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThe holiday season always seems to bring out the spirit of giving in people in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region.  While most of us exchange gifts with family and friends, many of us actively look for ways to help others.  My assistant told me about her brother and his family living in Vancouver who load up their vehicle every Christmas Day with sandwiches, cookies, oranges and warm beverages to distribute to the homeless on Hastings Street in downtown Vancouver.  I started wondering what opportunities for helping beyond tossing bills into a Salvation Army kettle there might be in our area.

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Local churches

If you belong to a church, you already know the programs and opportunities offered by your church.  If you are looking to join a local church, check out the comprehensive list in my Community Connections Business Directory.  Click on “Jump to Category” and then “Churches: Parkland County”, “Churches: Spruce Grove”, “Churches: Stony Plain”.  This information is also available in the Green Book Community Resource Directory.

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Parkland Food Bank

www.parklandfoodbank.org, 105 Madison Crescent, Spruce Grove AB T7X 3A3

780-962-4565

The Food Bank’s Stuff a Bus campaign ended on November 30, but donations of non-perishable food items and cash are welcomed with gratitude and enthusiasm all year round.  Volunteers will be put to work too!

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Tender Hearts Foundation

See article in The Grove Examiner entitled “Santa’s local workshop in Parkland County

Shoeboxes containing small gifts and treats are assembled and given to the elderly residents of nursing homes in the Parkland region.  Contact Joann Babineau to donate or volunteer:

#2, 52224, RR 275, Stony Plain AB T7Z 1Z3

Phone 780-968-0065

Email joreid@tbwifi.ca

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Kinette Club of Spruce Grove Christmas Hampers

Working with local schools, businesses and other service clubs, the Kinettes assemble and distribute 100s of hampers containing food, food certificates and gifts to needy families in Spruce Grove.

PO Box 3664, Spruce Grove AB T7X 2A9

780-962-2088

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Kinsmen Club of Stony Plain Christmas Hampers

PO Box 2231, Stony Plain AB T7Z 1X7

780-915-6934

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Parkland Area Youth Emergency Shelter (PAYES)

PO Box 2732, Stony Plain AB T7Z 1Y2

780-963-3595

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Christmas Bureau of Edmonton

“Providing a Festive Meal to Edmonton Families in Need”.  Donations are used to provide food hampers and food certificates.  The Christmas Bureau also coordinates with 630 CHED Santas Anonymous and the Edmonton Sun Adopt-a-Teen program.

Mailing address:  Christmas Bureau of Edmonton, PO BOX 16000, Edmonton AB T5J 4B4

Street address:  2nd Floor, 4230-118 Ave NW, Edmonton AB T5W 1A4 (2nd floor of Servus Credit Union Building)

Phone:  780-454-6074

Email:  mail@christmasbureau.ca

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630 CHED Santas Anonymous

Since 1955 providing toys for needy children in Edmonton.  Donations and volunteers welcome all year round, and toys right up until Christmas.  Toy deliveries for 2013 are taking place on December 14 and 15; drivers are always needed.

Santa’s Depot 12345-121 St, Edmonton

Mailing address and year-round donations:  5204-84 St NW, Edmonton AB T6E 5N8

Email:  santa@santasanonymous.ca

780-428-TOYS (8697)

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Edmonton Sun Adopt-a-Teen Program

Providing gifts for teens aged 13-17 from low income families in the Edmonton area.

2nd  Floor, 4230-118 Ave, Edmonton AB T5W 1A4

info@adoptateenedmonton.ca

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Women’s Shelters:

Women’s shelters are always in need of clothing, bedding, toiletries and children’s articles including toys, but the need is especially acute at Christmas.  Contact them to find out how you can help.

Edmonton Women’s Shelter (WIN House)

PO Box 20088, Edmonton AB T5W 5E6

780-471-6709

ewsed@winhouse.org

Lurana Shelter 

780-429-2002

director@luranashelter.com

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Youth Empowerment and Support Services

(formerly Youth Emergency Shelter Society)

9310-82 Ave, Edmonton AB T6C 0Z6

780-468-7070

yess@yess.org

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The Mustard Seed Edmonton 

Christmas Giving Opportunities.  http://www.theseed.ca/Christmas-Giving-Opportunities-Edmonton.html  Click on this link for a list of specific items (such as a travel mug filled with a coffee gift certificate, thermal socks, hand wipes, bus tickets, pocket hand warmers and a note of encouragement) that this organization gives to the needy at Christmas.

Mailing address:  PO Box 1842, Main Post Office, Edmonton AB T5J 2P2

Street address:  10568-114 St, Edmonton AB

780-426-5600

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So many formal organizations exist for helping others all year round, and many are specialized by type or age of person.  If this style of giving doesn’t appeal, why not look even closer to home?  Maybe there is an elderly or disabled person, or a young mother alone with her kids living on your street who could use your help in many ways, such as shoveling the driveway or getting groceries or providing a ride to an appointment.  And the best part is that when you help others in this way, you help yourself too!

I always welcome your comments and questions.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

Feast of St. Nicholas

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Feast of St. Nicholas | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThe Christmas and holiday season in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region is a big deal, but December 25 isn’t the only day of giving and celebrating.  If your family embraces the traditions of other countries and cultures, there are plenty more opportunities for making merry during the festive season!

One of these special days occurs on December 6, the Feast of St. Nicholas.  In fact, the North American Santa Claus is based on St. Nicholas, or Sinterklaas, as he is known in Holland.  In France, children leave out their sabots, or wooden shoes, in hopes that St. Nicholas will throw little toys and sweets (and not lumps of coal) down the chimney to land in their shoes.

This is what The Old Farmer’s Almanac has to say about St. Nicholas Day:

“In Holland, everyone celebrates the Feast of Sinterklaas, or St. Nicholas, on the eve of December 6.  After dinner, families hunt for presents, following clues in funny, anonymous poems.  They also eat cookies and candies, especially spicy Speculaas cookies formed in wooden molds shaped in the figure of St. Nick.

“Who was St. Nicholas?  His life, like the lives of many saints, is shrouded in mystery. We know that he was the bishop of Myra in Lycia, part of Asia Minor, during the 4th century.  He is credited with saving three sisters from lives of ill repute by throwing bags of gold into their house (some say down the chimney; others say through the window) to provide for their dowries.

“In many places in the United States and abroad, children still place their shoes by the window for St. Nicholas to fill with presents and sweets on the night before his feast day.”

Holidays are, of course, all about the food!  Why not try making your own Speculaas to celebrate St. Nicholas Day?  The recipe below is courtesy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.  Click on the preceding link for recipes for many more holiday goodies.

Spicy Sinterklaas Cakes (Speculaas) Recipe

Press the dough for these cookies into a carved wooden mold, or roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters.  Yield: Makes about 18 to 24 medium cutout cookies.

 1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar

1 tablespoon milk

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon each powdered cloves and cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg and powdered ginger

1 pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon chopped blanched almonds

1 tablespoon minced candied fruit

5 tablespoons butter

large slivers of blanched almonds, for decoration

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and milk, and stir until smooth. Add the flour, spices, salt, baking powder, almonds, and fruit. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender. Chill. Preheat oven to 350° F. If using a wooden speculaas mold, dust it with cornstarch, covering every bit of carving. Firmly press the dough into the mold, then run a sharp knife along the edges of the design. Gently lift the dough or tap it onto a greased cookie sheet. Press almond slivers onto the cookies wherever they fit into the design. To make cutout cookies, roll the dough about 1/4 inch thick and cut with cookie cutters. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Let them cool and crisp on a rack.

I’d love to hear about and feature in this blog your own family and cultural traditions surrounding the holidays!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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