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Oilers help the Christmas Bureau deliver holiday spirit

by Jessica McPhee / Edmonton Oilers

Growing up in Edmonton’s Inner City, Tamara faced challenges most of us can’t even imagine. She was often embarrassed that she was the recipient of a turkey dinner from the Christmas Bureau and toys from Santa’s Anonymous. But she was also grateful for the gifts that would ultimately brighten up a sometimes dark childhood.

Today, and now in her twenties, Tamara took to the stage at the Christmas Bureau Luncheon to share her story of hope and champion the cause of the charity that will deliver hampers to more than 70 thousand people this year. Her reason is simple.

“I grew up in Edmonton’s inner city, so Edmonton-based charities were a really big part of my childhood,” said Tamara.

Tamara’s story gave new meaning to what has become one of our city’s biggest Christmas fundraisers. For the 14th consecutive year, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation joined forces with the Oilers Copper Jackets to support the Christmas Bureau and their festive cause.

One of the most familiar faces at the event is the Oilers President of Hockey Operations, Kevin Lowe, who has a long history with the Bureau dating back three decades.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy Christmas a little more,” said Lowe. “I’m really proud of my association with it and am honoured to have been asked back every year since 1982.”

Over 600 people gathered together today at the Shaw Conference Centre for the luncheon where they had the chance to participate in silent and live auctions for the cause.

“(The luncheon attendees) are doing this for someone they’ve never seen, never met,” said the Christmas Bureau’s Executive Director, Wendy Batty. “It’s speaks to the generosity of our community. They’re providing to make sure their neighbour has a meal.”

In addition to helping plan and organize the event, the Foundation made a $100,000 donation to this year’s Christmas Bureau campaign, which aims to raise 1.8 million dollars.

Kevin Lowe aptly summed up the success of the luncheon and the outpouring of support which will fill the stomachs and warm the hearts of Edmonton’s less fortunate.

“It’s what Edmonton is all about - Edmontonians helping Edmontonians.”

Tamara could not agree more.

“It’s very important to be able to give back, especially now that I can.”
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