Council Christmas gift initiative returns for eighth year

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Charlene Miller and David Miller delivered purses and bags to the Stepping Stones Shelter on Sunday.

Men and women in Prince Albert homeless shelters and detox centres will have a Christmas gift thanks to a purse and bag campaign organized by the Prince Albert City Council and spearheaded by Charlene Miller.

On Sunday, Miller and her husband David Miller delivered 90 handbags and other items to Stepping Stones, Our House and the Prince Albert Detox Centre.

Miller and her colleagues started the purse and bag campaign eight years ago. She explained that she was the instigator of the concept.

“So we collect, probably from October 1 to around December 15. And then we come and we sort everything out and then we packed bags and purses and had few good friends who came and helped out,” Miller said.

Beginning at the downtown Union Centre David and Charlene then made stops at the Stepping Stones Shelter, Our House and the Detox Centre. She explained that the donations were enough for the three locations.

“It’s usually a little bit more. It’s usually Homeward Bound as well, but we kind of started running out of stuff so I didn’t want to chintzy,” Miller said.

She said that it was because there was always a need in Prince Albert.

“ I just felt there was a need and there’s a few that needed a helping hand, so I thought why not,” Miller said.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Charlene Miller and David Miller loaded their truck to deliver purses and bags to three stops on Sunday.

She said over the eight years they have served many people in need in Prince Albert and grew to include the council as partners.

“ It’s a Council initiative now, so it just grew bigger and here we are the eighth annual,” Miller said.

Miller thanked resident Eleanor George and her friends for crocheting and donating more than 100 scarves, Prince Albert and District Labour Council for the use of their hall and the numerous community members who made financial donations to the cause.

Donations collected included gym bags, backpacks, handbags, purses, deodorant, toothbrushes, razors, soap, shower gel, makeup, chocolates and candy and clothing such as mitts, scarves and winter jackets.

Miller explained that it is important to have initiatives like this and others to show that City Council cares.