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Christmas tree at Fredericton mall full of children's wish list items

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Greener Village's Angel Tree in Fredericton is designed to make sure every child has a gift for Christmas.

Every Angel has a child's wish list item and it's hung on the tree for shoppers at the Regent Mall to choose from.

Behind the scenes at the food bank, employees and volunteers work hard making sure wish lists are fulfilled.

"They can pick if they're a child between one and 12, they can pick three gifts typically a $50 gift, a $30 gift, and $20 for stocking stuffers,” said Greg Doucet with Greener Village.

For teens, they suggest gift cards.

"I'm only 19 myself, so seeing the teenagers I could potentially help have a better Christmas I decided I would go out and do the best I can,” said Kayla Williams while shopping at the Regent Mall.

Privacy is important for Greener Village and they've honed a system of anonymity.

"Just so that nobody can put the name and the age together and say, ‘Oh, I know who that is,’” Doucet said. “For their protection, and for the peace of mind that you know, it's a humbling thing to come and ask for help.

“And it's probably even more humbling at Christmas, to say you know I can't buy gifts for my kids."

Doucet says it’s a little extra work, but it's worth it.

For Greener Village, this is the most exciting time of the year

"They know that the food bank provides food but what it really provides a sense of community,” said Greener Village CEO Alex Boyd. “A sense of normality for people that are struggling with significant challenges.

“So what that means is that your kids are still going to go back to school in January, and talk about the gifts they got. Even though even though your family might not have been able to afford to be able to do that."

Greener Village is working towards collecting 3,000 gifts for roughly 1,100 children.

"It's a feeling like none other,” Doucet said. “Because it's given to those that otherwise maybe wouldn't have much of a Christmas if any.

“It also takes some pressure off the parents, it's a two fold, because sometimes at Christmas parents say I'm going to get my kid a gift but maybe something else is going to fall by the wayside, maybe it's the hydro, maybe it's a mortgage payment, rent - a little late for that, and those all have ripple effects.”

About half of the orders for Greener Village’s Angel Tree still need to be filled, and they'll be taking donations until Christmas.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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