The gift of giving: SaskEnergy glad to support school Santa Stores

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Two women with long hair smile, seated at a table with tubes of red wrapping paper in front of them.paper

Ashley Baer held back tears while wrapping a gift for a child at the Connaught Elementary School Santa Store in North Battleford. 

“She told me last year they never got any presents,” says Ashley, a SaskEnergy employee in North Battleford. “She told me she was happy her brother would get a gift this year even if she doesn’t. This confirmed that what we’re doing is meaningful and that we need to continue volunteering and donating.”

Santa Stores are held in community schools across Saskatchewan, so students can shop for affordable gifts for their loved ones during the holidays. 

This year, approximately 80 SaskEnergy staff eagerly volunteered at Santa Stores in North Battleford, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Weyburn and Regina. They also collected new and gently used items to donate to the elementary schools as gifts. 

SaskEnergy and Unifor Local 649 also committed funding to support the Santa Stores. 

Sheldon Smith, SaskEnergy’s Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, was grateful to volunteer at St. Michael Community School in Regina. 

“The experience was great. It made me feel proud that SaskEnergy staff were willing put their time toward helping out the community and spending one-on-one time with these kids to give them a happier Christmas,” says Sheldon. 

“Times are hard for everyone these days. We all need to do what we can to help those in need and give back to the community. I’ll definitely be volunteering again next year, and would encourage others to do the same.”

SaskEnergy’s Regina staff have supported the St. Michael Santa Store for nearly 20 years. This was our first year expanding to the other communities. Throughout December, SaskEnergy also supported Osborne School in Prince Albert, Mayfair Community School in Saskatoon and St. Michael School in Weyburn.

“I think this event was a great way to give back, and put a smile on the teachers’ and the kids’ faces — and our faces!” says North Battleford employee Kassie Wintersgill. “One of the children asked if we were the ‘professional wrappers.’ I’m going to use this term more often!” 

“It was great meeting all the kids,” North Battleford employee Nanise Seru agrees. “I was able to listen to what they were going to be doing on Christmas, and who the presents were for and their reasoning for picking out the presents they did for their specific family members. These kids are such a vibe!” 

Nanise was glad to support her community in some small way. 

“Although I don’t have all the money to be able to donate to all the schools in my city, I’m glad I can at least offer my time as support. I was fulfilled by this experience and I cannot wait for next year!” 

SaskEnergy’s involvement in the Santa Stores is organized by our youth employee network, Generation Energy (Gen-E).