December is literally days away, and with that, attention will be steered directly toward Christmas and everyone's assorted plans for the holiday season.
But in Outlook and communities that dot the connecting landscape, this time of year can bring with it a dreaded sense of uncertainty and questions over how some people will be able to sit down and enjoy a Christmas meal with their families.
With that reality in mind, the Outlook & District Food Bank does its best every year to help ease the burden that can come with the Christmas season.
They do that with the yearly giving tree, which stands at the Prairie Centre Credit Union in Outlook. If you go and check out the tree, you'll see it decorated with tags that give you bullet-point information on items of all types that are being requested by families and people in need this season. Grab a tag, fulfill that need, get the items back by December 16, and you'll be helping the holidays become much brighter and more enjoyable for people who need a helping hand.
Gail Borsa, chairperson of the Outlook & District Food Bank, says they have about 50 tags or so that are on the tree. She's grateful that the people of Outlook and area have helped the campaign be a yearly success.
"It's always very successful," she said. "If there are any tags left over, the staff at the credit union will pick them up. We've never had someone not return a tag in all the time that I've been doing it. People in Outlook are so giving, and I get so emotional talking about it! People have been so supportive, whether it's for the Secret Santa, donations, or collecting food for us. You can't ask for a better community than that!"
The food bank itself serves people not only in Outlook, but residents in Hanley, Hawarden, Loreburn, Strongfield, Milden and Dinsmore. It speaks to the growing needs of people, but also perhaps to the need for more food banks around the province.
People are often surprised to learn that Outlook helps people in other communities around the region.
"Usually, yes," said Gail. "I was told by Saskatchewan Food Banks Association that Davidson is supposed to be starting one. They're in the process of doing what they have to do. Rosetown does have a food bank, Kindersley has one, and the reason why we serve the people of Hanley is because the one in Dundurn closed down."
For Gail, she says that helping people is what she gets out of her time with the food bank. All it takes is one or two missteps in life and it could be you or another loved one who finds themselves in need.
"It's just helping people," said Gail, tearing up. "It's kind of like, 'There by the Grace of God, go I'. There are so many seniors, and I just think, 'It could be me'. It could be anyone I know. One lady we were talking to, she said that she was working in camps and cooking in camps, doing very well, and then she got hit by a debilitating disease. She says that she's embarrassed to be coming to the food bank and embarrassed to be asking for help. I can't imagine how hard that would be."
The giving tree will be up at the credit union until December 16, with Christmas hampers set to go out on December 21.