Kindness Caravan spreads joy through Prince Albert Thursday

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Vehicles lined up in front of the Senator Allen Bird Memorial Centre on Thursday evening before the Kindness Caravan departed.

Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) Urban Services celebrated the season with their second Kindness Caravan around Prince Albert on Thursday evening.

The event, which was organized by emergency measures pandemic coordinator Natalie Clyke, included representation from around the community, including a Prince Albert Police Service escort.

“Prince Albert Grand Council is just giving back to the community,” PAGC Urban Services director Geoff Despins said. “Sharing this with the community and making sure that we get out and have everybody get into the spirit of Christmas, that’s why we are doing this.”

Despins said the PAGC hoped to show support for paramedics and emergency response workers, while also giving regular Prince Albert residents a reason to celebrate. The Caravan toured around the city on two different nights last year, but this year they reduced it to a single evening because of the extremely cold temperatures.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Santa Claus and another Santa Claus from the White Buffalo Healing Lodge danced a jig before the Kindness Caravan departed from the Senator Allen Bird Memorial Centre on Thursday evening,

“We don’t want to freeze Santa Claus. We don’t want to freeze our helpers. We just want to make sure everybody’s safe and everybody gets home healthy,” Despins said.

Clyke’s daughter Minghella Coates was taking part for the second year, and she brought her Edmonton Oilers Elves to assist.

“It is my mom who is hosting this and I wanted to be a part of it,” Coates said. “I wanted to bring my friends along for the journey.”

The caravan started in the West Flat and travelled along River Street East before moving south on 15 Ave. East through Crescent Heights. The vehicles the traveled along the East Hill and West Hill before returning to the Senator Allen Bird Memorial Centre. Prince Albert City Police led the parade.

“(We are) making sure we cover as much of the city as possible,” Despins said.

People who registered were encouraged to bring a work vehicle and drive the route. Santa Claus had his own float in the Caravan and would make sure he was on it in residential areas before warming up in a vehicle.

Santa Claus himself was happy to give back to the community in this way.

“It’s amazing. It’s just about giving back every day to everybody, everywhere. Today we get to do it in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and celebrate with everybody here to share the joy and happiness of the season,” Claus said.

He wasn’t fazed by the cold weather either.

“It’s a lot of people smiling and happiness and everything that’s going on today,” he added. “There is too much drama and sadness. We want happiness and shiny faces today.”