A stack of thank you cards from Adopt-A-Teen recipients.Claire Theobald / Postmedia


It’s coming down to the end of the third period, the ninth inning, the last furlough.

The final push is on.

With Christmas around the corner, The Christmas Bureau is at 80 per cent of its goal of raising $1.3 million to provide a festive dinner for those 15,000 less fortunate families who are our neighbours.

Within those families, the Edmonton Sun’s Adopt-A-Teen Christmas gift program has undertaken to provide 6,000 teens with a Christmas gift: a $50 Walmart gift card purchased with your donations.

Adopt-A-Teen, as of Friday, December 21, was 81 per cent on its way to its goal.

The good news — enough funds have been raised to give 4,850 teens a gift. But $57,500 is still needed to cover the gift card costs for the remaining 1,150 teens.

The good news — The Christmas Bureau has 12,000 underprivileged families covered for their Christmas meal. But another $260,000 is needed to cover the food hampers or Sobeys-Safeway gift cards for the remaining 3,000 families.

Times are getting tougher, we all know that.

But when the going gets tough, Edmontonians get going.

It’s never about a few people making big donations. It’s about thousands of us helping one teen or one family. Doing what we can.

Please, take a minute or two to go online to either ChristmasBureau.ca or AdoptateenEdmonton.ca to donate, according to your own circumstances. Cheques can be mailed to Box 16000, Edmonton, AB, T5J 4B4.

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Your donation does change lives.

Dear Edmonton Sun Adopt-A-Teen: Thank you for your generous $50 Walmart gift card as a Christmas gift for each of my two teens. They are having a tough winter. Their dad is sick with cancer. I am at home as his primary caregiver.  Our family is blessed to receive the Walmart gift cards, with which our teens will buy winter boots. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Hello! Me and my little sister will receive gifts this year, because of your gift cards. Our parents also received the grocery gift cards, so we will have an awesome Christmas dinner too. Thank you for making a lot of kids, including us, happier for Christmas! Thank you so much!

 This email is to thank you for the gift cards you sent to us. Your gift enabled my sister and I to buy clothes (gloves, socks, hats, and pajamas) suited for winter. We really appreciate your generosity. Adopt-A-Teen has really touched our lives. Sincerely, wishing you a merry Christmas and a prosperous New year. 

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As of Friday noon, The Oilers Past and Present auction package for Adopt-A-Teen was sitting at $3,000.

Assembled and donated by former Sun chief photographer Tom Braid, the package includes an autographed Connor McDavid sweater in a custom jersey box, a signed and framed photo of Wayne Gretzky hoisting the Stanley Cup, dinner for two at the Rogers’ Place Suite 99, two gold tickets for an Oilers game and an exclusive screening of the documentary Making Coco, The Grant Fuhr Story. A detailed package description is at hicksbiz.com. Please scroll down to the auction posting.

The auction will end at noon on Saturday, December 22. Tom Braid is accepting bids at 780-965-1838.

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May I finish this series of Christmas charity columns with my most cherished Adopt-A-Teen memory from an annual campaign many moons ago.

I was shopping at Safeway. A small, middle-aged woman tugged at my elbow.

“Are you Graham Hicks?” she asked.  I admitted I was, bracing for some criticism of my former daily column, Hicks on Six.

“I just want to thank you so much for Adopt-A-Teen,” she said.

“Years ago, I was going through a tough time. My 14-year-old son was going the wrong way fast and was having brushes with the law. When the Adopt-A-Teen gift card arrived, I gave it to him.

“He was amazed. He couldn’t believe that someone who had never met him would give him such a gift, that a complete stranger would actually care about him.

“It was the biggest turning point of his life. He straightened out, finished school, went to college. Now he’s a social worker — working with street kids.”