How Canadians Can Lace-up Virtually to Help Neighbours in Need

Stephane and her husband in santa hats and festive shirts, gearing up for the race
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It’s been a challenging  year for Canadians. The Salvation Army has seen the number of people needing support skyrocket to almost five times over last year in some parts across Canada. Now, more than ever, The Salvation Army is relying on your generosity to help provide practical assistance to thousands of families and individuals who have met with hard times.

This year, due to the pandemic, Christmas will look very different for many of us. So will The Salvation Army’s annual Santa Shuffle, a 5k fun run and 1k elf walk that raises funds to help neighbours in need.

“The run is a great way to exercise and help people at the same time”

“The Santa Shuffle team is committed to ensuring the health and safety of every participant,” says June Li, national race director. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we are turning this year’s event into a virtual experience in 35 locations across Canada. Although aspects of our event have changed this year, our commitment to helping our vulnerable neighbours at Christmas and beyond remains as strong as ever.”

The Santa Shuffle started as a single race in Edmonton in 1990 when local Running Room members used their passion to raise funds to support The Salvation Army and those in need in their community. Every year the race gained momentum, and, in 2001, the Shuffle, in partnership with Running Room, became a national Salvation Army event.

Stephanie, 56, is a regular participant in the Santa Shuffle.

“The run is a great way to exercise and help people at the same time.”

“The Salvation Army plays a critical part in our communities”

Stephanie’s passion for supporting The Salvation Army came from the organization’s interaction with her mother while she received cancer treatments.

“I was a teen when my mother lost her battle with cancer,” says Stephanie. “For nine months, while she was in hospital, The Salvation Army came in and painted with her to occupy her time between treatments. That always stuck with me.”

Ten years ago, Stephanie ran her first Santa Shuffle and was baffled by the number of families, friends and businesses who participated and dressed up in eye-catching and fun holiday costumes.

“The excitement of the Shuffle is contagious,” says Stephanie. “As the years progressed, my running attire became more creative, and I was wearing crazy outfits with Santa hats and flashing lights.

“The Salvation Army plays a critical part in our communities,” continues Stephanie. “They take care of anyone who is struggling. So, lace up your running shoes and join the Santa Shuffle.”

By Linda Leigh