Community Stories

So every child has a gift on Christmas morning

November 29, 2019

It’s Friday afternoon in downtown Red Deer and the main floor of City Hall is looking extra festive.

Not only are the Christmas trees meticulously decorated and the wreaths carefully hung, but it’s also starting to look a little like Santa’s workshop. One entire corner of the lobby is packed full… of toys.

“I think it went great,” says Stephanie Gramlich, Parking Coordinator with The City of Red Deer. “We have a good selection for both boys and girls and even into the older kids.”

Toys for Tickets - Stephanie with toys

From dolls to puzzles, remote control cars to hockey sticks and even a giant teddy bear, all these toys are destined for local children who might otherwise be without a gift to open on Christmas morning.

“Even in the hard times, with the economy the way it is, people are still delivering, which is really nice to see,” says Gramlich.

Since 2007, The City of Red Deer has offered drivers who park downtown, some extra incentive to help their neighbours during the holidays. Anyone who receives a parking ticket during the month of November, instead of paying the fine, can donate a new toy for a child in need.

“It looks wonderful, thank you for getting tickets, people!” jokes Brenda Clark, board member of the Red Deer Christmas Bureau Society. Last year, more than one thousand children in Red Deer received gifts thanks to the organization. “It’s huge, especially when we have items for older kids. Sometimes their selection is pretty minimal.”

This year Red Deerians were happy to oblige. Over 500 toys were collected in just four weeks, with an estimated value of over $15,000! Many of the fines were set at $30, but that didn’t stop Red Deerians from going above and beyond.

“One lady that came in, she had a thirty dollar ticket but she brought in like eight games, totaling over twice what her ticket was worth,” says Gramlich

Friday afternoon, the toys were loaded onto a City bus and taken to the Christmas Bureau headquarters in north Red Deer. The Toys for Tickets campaign is now wrapped up for another year, but the Red Deer Christmas Bureau is still gratefully accepting donations for kids in need. Particularly in demand this year are items for pre-teens and teenagers. For more information go to

The City of Red Deer would like to thank all those who participated in the Toys for Tickets program for their generosity!