Single parents in Edmonton to get gifts, Christmas dinner from their 'Little Santas'
A community effort to make Christmas a little brighter for single parents in the Edmonton area is looking for a little help from the public.
A charity called Little Santas helps children give gifts to their parents, the families get a gingerbread house to build together, and a St. Albert restaurant makes Christmas dinner.
"I was a single mom when I was 16," Layna Haley said Friday.
"So I was a teen mom, as well as a single mom, and there wasn't really a place I felt like I belonged. And there wasn't a lot of support."
So Haley founded Kaleo Collective, the charity that runs Little Santas.
This is the second year the program will be delivering for families, and Haley said the need has more than tripled in 2021.
"The pandemic has been really hard on families. We're seeing that more and more," she said.
Lynn Kolpak knows that struggle well. That's why her restaurant, Socrates in St. Albert, provides the dinner.
"It's very close to my heart. I was raised by a single mom. And growing up there was always a stigma," she said.
For single mom Lennea Blanchard, being a single mom is tough at the best of times, but the holidays make her workload heavier.
"It's extra hard this time of year especially when you have to pick out the extra outfits for school. You need the meal. Everything comes together all at once," she said.
Blanchard received a gift from her sons last year, with help from Little Santas.
"Feeling some sort of pride being able to pick something for their parent on their own is huge," Blanchard said.
"It made me feel excited to pick something out for my mom," her son Rylan Voss said.
More information about the program, how to donate, and the companies that help support Little Santas is available online.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Touria Izri