Randy Hoback helps launch collection for Christmas gifts for guys initiative

(L to R) Coun. Evert Botha, MP Randy Hoback and Conrad Burns pose with Hoback's donation to the Christmas gift bags for guys initiative (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

The 2018 drive to collect good for the Christmas bags for guys initiative got off to a quick start Friday with the help of Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback.

Hoback met with bags for guys campaign organizers Coun. Evert Botha and Conrad Burns at his office Friday morning, greeting them with a bag full of deodorant for their cause. It’s the second year Hoback has contributed to the cause.

While the second annual Christmas gift bags for the guys and for the ladies was announced earlier this week. Friday marked the kickoff for collections.

“I’m very happy to be a part of it this year,” Hoback said.

“This time last year we were at Evert’s place and if you were to look around his table it was full of socks and underwear, deodorant, shaving cream, mittens, scarves, jackets — all the things that people need in the winter time. It’s such an honourable thing to be part of, so we’re glad to be a part of kicking it off again this year.”

The collections are combined in donated backpacks and gym bags. The bags are then filled with the toiletries, socks, hats and mitts and some treats and distributed to men who come to the Community Christmas Dinner. Coun. Charlene Miller is undertaking a similar initiative with purses and bags for the women.

Burns is pleased he is getting another opportunity to help with the collection.

“I am ecstatic to be a part of this,” he said. “It helps me connect to the community and really get to see how our community rallies behind a great cause.”

Hoback said that initiatives like these are important, especially for those who might not regular access to some of the items in the bags.

“It’s minus 18 this morning. There are people in a scenario where they’re … homeless, they need the basic essentials we take for granted,” he said.

‘The ability to give them shampoo and deodorant is important to them, so I’m happy to be able to participate in something that does just that.”

This year, the campaign started earlier, in the hopes of making it easier to collect all that is needed in time. In addition to Hoback’s donation, local businesses and not-for-profits such as the YWCA and Value Village have also signed on to contribute to the campaign, Burns said.

“It’s amazing how quickly our community rallies together for a great cause,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to it.”

To contribute to the bags for guys or bags for ladies initiatives, call Evert Botha at 306-980-5387, Conrad Burns at 30-941-0780 or Charlene Miller at 306-981-3636.