Capitalism with a human heart is a wondrous thing.

I have been fortunate to continue my association with the Edmonton Sun since retiring as a full-time columnist at the end of 2010. Time has flown by.

Chairing the Edmonton Sun’s Adopt-A-Teen program that provides Christmas gifts for underprivileged Edmonton teens is one of them. Writing Hicks on Biz, this weekly column about business in Metropolitan Edmonton, is another.

These two interests happily coincide in today's column, a salute to the Christmas spirit of multiple Edmonton companies and their employees, a spirit exemplified by their support of Adopt-A-Teen.

If we can raise the money, 8,500 teens in (means-tested) families registered with the Christmas Bureau and the Salvation Army will each receive a $50 Walmart gift card donated by Adopt-A-Teen. 

Which means a total $425,000 must be raised by Christmas. Gulp. 

This is where corporate support is so necessary.

Click here to Adopt-A-Teen

It drives me bonkers. Every year, some Facebook types refuse to support Adopt-A-Teen because they refuse to support Walmart.

Let me tell you about Walmart as a good corporate neighbour. Since the gift-card system started, Edmonton Walmart stores have been Adopt-A-Teen’s lead sponsor, raising $30,000 cash – CASH! – to provide 600 teens with gift cards.

Walmart employees – Metro Edmontonians all – raise half that amount themselves through bake sales etc. The local stores match their employees’ effort.

A Walmart gift card is also a most practical gift for teenagers. Walmart has something for everybody in that age group. With 10 stores, the kids can get there. Walmart doesn’t sell smokes, booze or pornography. 

So excuse me if I rage at the righteously indignant, who somehow have it in for a retail company that, behind the scenes, does so much for  teens in our community.

I love Adopt-A-Teen’s frugality. We have no paid staff, no office, no junk-mail appeals. All promotion is through The Sun. Adopt-A-Teen’s only expenses are for postage, stationary and website ( upkeep. 

Companies hear about Adopt-A-Teen through The Edmonton Sun, other media or word-of-mouth. Those who give are not seeking recognition. All just want to help the kids at Christmas.

Adopt-A-Teen doesn’t know the mix of corporate/staff donations, and many such donations are made through personal credit cards.

Permit me to list and thank the companies/staff, besides Walmart, we do know have consistently donated to Adopt-A-Teen over the years, usually for 10 teens or more. There are many more we don’t know of or have overlooked. Thank you all. 

In alphabetical order: Always Plumbing, Bentall-Kennedy, Bob Dale Industries, Carrington Group, Chemco Electrical, Derrick Dodge, Encompass Industries, Enertech Plumbing, JB’s Power Centres, JJ Hunter Radiators, Kamwin Construction, McElhanney Land Surveys, MetalBoss Technologies, Northgate Industries, Paydar Consulting, Park Lighting, Peace Hills Insurance, Prairie Wind Contracting, Precision Communications, PTI Group (now Civeo), RBW Waste Management, Rio Tek Canada, Ron Bonko Welding, Stawnichy Meats, Strathearn Heights Ltd., Suncor, TELUS, Trace Applications,  Triple G Insurance, Wesclean Cleaning Services.

Then there are organizations, clubs, associations and staff groups:  Advocis, Alberta Advanced Education (Student Aid division staff) ,  Alberta Land Titles staff, Castledowns Lions Club, Dinner Optimist Club, Edmonton Area Council One Society Casino,  Edmonton City Human Resources staff, Edmonton Oilers Foundation, International Union of Operating Engineers, TEC Edmonton staff, Union 488 Plumbers and Pipefitters, Union 52 Benevolent Society.

Finally, the leaders of tomorrow – students, parents and teachers at Ottewell Junior High, McNally High and Ross Sheppard High.

Please help a teen or two or 10 or 20 by donating online through our secure website, or at the Sun’s Call Centre, 1-888-786-7821.

Cheques can be made out to “Adopt-A-Teen”, mailed or dropped off c/o The Edmonton Sun, #350, 4990-92 Ave., Edmonton, AB, T6B 3A1. Tax receipts will be issued.

Please share your stories. Contact me by e-mail or phone (info below) or The Sun’s Adopt-A-Teen 2014 spokesperson Claire Theobald at

Thank you.  Please tell your friends, bosses and associates: Adopt-A-Teen needs help!!

Graham Hicks