The photoshoot was to fundraise for the Animal Auxiliary Thrift Store. Operator of the charity Gena Barzan says the money will go towards hampers for seniors in need.
Animal parents could get a picture snapped so long as they donated to the charity, minimum donations were $10. Barzan said funding for the hampers is way behind where it normally is, and she’s hoping to raise about $4,000.
The organization does monthly hampers all through the year, but the December iteration is special. Animal Auxiliary tries to provide seniors with enough food so they don’t need to spend their pension cheque for this one month of the year.
“Which means we give them enough protein, and enough vegetables and frozen items that they can last the month,” explained Barzan. “So they can either catch up on bills, take a friend out, buy their grandchild a gift, something that we take as an everyday thing, for them is a luxury.
Barzan provides hampers to 54 seniors each December, she said that’s the max amount they can provide for and every year they hit that max amount.
Manager of Paw Street Market Briana Duffin said the pet store does pictures with Santa every year, and it’s all in an effort to help out the community.
“I just want to help, that's all I'm here for, I want to help animals (and) I want to help people and that's what we're here for. It's a fun day,” said Duffin.
Barzan said the event was an "absolutely spectacular day," and saw about 50 humans and 40 animals. Including lots of dogs, a few cats, and even two snakes.
Animals who came and sat with Santa got their own Christmas surprise, a bag filled with goodies from a supplier, in the bag was a cookie cutter, and samples.
Barzan said the Christmas hampers will be delivered on Dec. 22, and volunteers will be building them on Dec. 19. The Animal Auxiliary wouldn’t be possible without al of the volunteers, who Barzan said have “one of the hardest jobs there is.”
On top of Paw Street, more community shops are coming together to help support the hampers. Barzan said Freshco is selling them ham at last years price, something she says is a big help considering how much the cost of everything has gone up. Cobs Vernon is donating 54 dinner rolls to go with the 54 loaves of bread the group is purchasing.
Final donation amounts are still being tallied. Anyone who would like to donate to Animal Auxiliary can stop by the store at 3900a 29 Ave, visit its Facebook page, or call Barzan directly at 250-438-0062.
Barzan said the thrift store's emphasize is on helping seniors and animals, but it's seeing five to 15 people a day come in asking for help feeding their animals.
"These aren't just people that are don't have a job," said Barzan. "These are people that are working that just can't afford to feed their animals now because of the high cost."