(PHOTO: Santa Sacks ready to be filled. Photo courtesy of Project Santa Sack’s Facebook page)

A new donation-based initiative is helping to ensure children in the Piwapin Women’s Centre system will have a present to open on Christmas morning.

Amy Buettner was inspired to start Project Santa Sack as she works with children in the tri-community area year round. She says that she knows Christmas can be a particularly stressful time for a lot of families.

Piwapin Women’s Centre in La Ronge provides shelter and services to mothers and their children who have escaped family violence and abuse.

Community members can pick up a designated Santa Sack at La Ronge EMS, the La Ronge Visitors Centre or at the Piwapin Women’s Centre for $2.

“We’re hoping that people fill these Santa Sacks with about $25 worth of goods,” explains Buettner. “These are targeted at elementary school aged children. Things like, stickers, hair elastics, hockey pucks, colouring supplies, colouring books, things that when they open them, they can receive Christmas joy. They can spend some time playing with them.”

Volunteers from the community donated their time to create the $2 Santa Sacks that are to be filled with the gifts.

Once the Santa Sack is complete, it can be dropped off at any of the participating vendors. Blue and pink ribbons are available to suggest which gender the sack is for.

“The women’s centre has been super involved with La Ronge and the community for a long time. We really like the programming that they provide, specifically for women and children,” explains Buettner on why she chose Piwapin for the inaugural year of Project Santa Sack.

In addition to Santa Sacks, Piwapin is supporting adult community members with Project Hope. People can donate new and second hand clothing items and new toilettes such as, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products and lip bal. These items will be distributed to people on the street.

La Ronge EMS has stepped up and donated an ambulance to deliver the Santa Sacks around the tri-community.

Any monetary donations will also benefit Piwapin Women’s Centre.