The Eagle's Nest Stoney Family Shelter is on a mission this Christmas season!

The shelter located in Stoney Nakoda has been serving as a safe haven for nation members and surrounding residents for close to three decades; providing a place to stay, food, clothing and childcare to women and children in need.

Partnering with the Nakoda food bank, they launched their annual Christmas Gift Giving Campaign earlier this month. As well as collecting non-perishable food donations for Christmas hampers; organizers are also accepting unwrapped toys for kids and teens as well as gift bags for moms throughout the community.

Community Prevention Worker Shaunna Pierro-Hunter says "We have a list of about 300 families that we're collecting for. These are families that are getting Christmas food hampers. We're looking for 300 unwrapped toys, and we're mostly looking for gifts for women that including gift cards, toiletries, makeup, pyjamas, clothing items, underwear, socks and blankets."

Pierro- Hunter says that Cochranites have been generously donating items already, and can continue to do so at their drop off boxes conveniently located throughout Cochrane. "We have boxes located at the Cochrane IDA Pharmacy, Lost Sock Laundromat, Cochrane Seniors Condos and Bow Valley College."

Organizers will be preparing gift bags this week and distributing the gifts to families on (Friday) Dec. 20.

Pierro- Hunter says they are happy to accept donations year-round. "Anyone can come and donate at any time, not just during the Christmas holidays but any time of the year. We accept donations pretty much 24/7 because we are actually open 24/7."

The shelter was established by the Stoney Tribal Council in the early 1990s and has been providing a safe place for victims and survivors of family violence ever since.