Santa Fund dips into reserves to keep up with inflation as donations drop

Volunteer firefighter Vianny Morin, full time firefighter Pascal Morin and WN Fire Chief Frank Loeffen load a freezer with 125 turkeys they ordered from Sysco for the Santa Fund food baskets. Loeffen comments that without food suppliers helping them save money by piggybacking orders for the Santa Fund, they wouldn’t be able to reach their goal of helping over 110 families at Christmastime.

Food and gift baskets going out this week

Christian Gammon-Roy


The West Nipissing Santa Fund volunteers are out this week delivering their yearly Christmas food and gift baskets on December 22nd and 23rd. Despite not receiving as much from this year’s Radiothon, they are still on track to provide just as much help as they did in 2021. However, this may come at a future cost, as they are using some of the fund’s reserves to keep up the pace in the face of inflation and fewer donations.

Last year, the Santa Fund provided 122 families with food baskets and provided 260 kids with a Christmas gift. According to West Nipissing Fire Chief Frank Loeffen, they’ve got 110 families registered for this year so far and expect a few more to be added to the list. Gifts for the kids are also expected to reach the same numbers as last year. With food costs and toy prices on the rise, they are managing to provide the same level of help, despite receiving approximately $9,000 less in donations this year, $27,000 in comparison to $36,000 in 2021.

“Some of the surplus from last year is going into offsetting this years’ costs,” explains Loeffen, adding that they haven’t had to adjust their practices for the 2022 holiday season. However, they are concerned over the next one. “It’s all going to be dependent on how the year goes, what we’re able to collect and give out, but I’m sure like everybody else we’re going to have to start looking at reducing what we’re giving out. Whether it’s in the Christmas baskets, or in the gifts, the cost of the gifts,” he describes.

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