One by one, employees are called into the boss’s office. Termination notices are issued, individuals ushered to their desk with 10 minutes to gather belongings and turn in keys. Security guards escort them to the front door.

No one likes layoffs, but, hey, the next day it’ll be business as usual for the organization.

Not for the ex-employee, not for her or his family. Especially with Christmas approaching. Especially for the children. Especially for the teens.

The families of the recently laid-off, of those down-sized in the oilpatch, of recently arrived refugees, of the underemployed are hurting this Christmas. Kids are watching their parents fall apart because of financial stress.

For those of us fortunate enough to have kept our homes and our living standards, much must be asked.

With your help, three extraordinary charities work arm-in-arm to ensure every child in Edmonton aged zero to 17 will have a Christmas gift, and every family on a limited income will have a festive meal.

The Edmonton Christmas Bureau provides a Sobey/ Safeway gift certificate or a holiday hamper to families, singles and seniors struggling with falling incomes. Volunteers with CHED’s

Santa’s Anonymous deliver donated gifts to younger children in the same families. The Edmonton Sun’s AdoptA-Teen program provides a Walmart $50 gift card for the teens. As far as we know, no other city in the world has a coordinated program (run outside of government, with no government funding) to ensure every child from 0-to17 wakes up on Christmas Day with at least one gift. This is because the Christmas Bureau takes on the monumental task of finding, verifying and registering those in need, the size of each family, the age of the children, the street and mailing address. If you are aware of a family in need, have them call the Christmas Bureau’s intake centre (during office hours) at 780-414-7695 to determine eligibility.

Santa’s Anonymous uses the Christmas Bureau list to forecast the number of kids needing gifts, what kind of gifts, and addresses for delivery.

Adopt-A-Teen’s $50 Walmart gift cards are sent to the parents or guardians on the Christmas Bureau’s data base, to give to their teens.

It’s a tremendous system – tweaked over the years to provide maximum efficiency, to ensure true need, treating those in need with dignity and respect. There but for the grace of God …

Thanks to your most generous donations in the weeks leading up to Christmas, The Edmonton Sun’s Adopt-A-Teen campaign has raised enough money in the past to provide an average 8,000 teens from low-income families with a gift card.

This year will be the biggest challenge to date. For the reasons outlined above, The Christmas Bureau tells us some 9,000 teens this year will need help.

On Saturday, December 10, our two-week Adopt-A-Teen fund-raising campaign kicks off with its goal of raising (9,000 teens x $50 each) $450,000.

Every year to date we have somehow reached our goal. Thousands of you have added an unknown teen or two to your Christmas list. This year the need is greater. Help spread the word. Please, tell your friends, co-workers and neighbours about Adopt-A-Teen.

Donate in the name of friends as your Christmas gift to them. “In lieu of a gift, we are donating in your name to Adopt-A-Teen’s underprivileged teens this Christmas.”

Our 2016 Adopt-A-teen spokesperson is Postmedia reporter Claire Theobald who is passionate about the cause. If you have a good story for Claire, or would like to learn more about AdoptA-Teen, drop her a note at or phone her at 780-468-0305.

As chair of the 2016 Adopt-A-Teen organizing committee, I am also available to answer questions — graham.hicks@hicksbiz. com or phone/text me 780707-6379.

Thank you so much. The easiest way to give is by credit card on our secured website, www.adoptateenedmonton. ca. Cheques can be made out to “Adopt-A-Teen.” Cheques and cash can be dropped off at any Edmonton fire hall. Cheques can be mailed to Adopt-a-Teen c/o The Christmas Bureau, Suite 200, 4230 118 Ave, Edmonton, AB, T5W 1A4.

Donations can also be dropped off at the same address during office hours. The Christmas Bureau office is above the Servus Credit Union on 118 Ave.