Christmas Hamper Program starts in the nick of time


By David F. Rooney

The annual Christmas Hamper Program operated by the Community Connections Food Bank gets underway on Thursday, December 1, and it’s just in time.

The Food Bank now feeds 18 per cent more people than it did last year at this time when 222 households and 338 people depended on it, but “this year it’s 260 households and 406 people (including 90 children),” Patti Larson said in a recent interview.

Their visits to the food bank have increased from 5,489 to 6,366.

“There are a couple of different ways to look at it,” said Janna Fraser, who is now working with Patti at Community Connections. “Is this due to an increase in the cost of food and housing?”

Whatever the reasons behind the increase in demand for food bank service, thus could be a tough Christmas for the working poor and seniors who rely on it. Last year’s Christmas Hamper Program created 180 hampers. This year’s total could be higher.

The program is provided by the food bank to help low-income families and seniors enjoy a special Christmas. Between December 1 and December 23, Revelstokians can drop off special seasonal foods, gifts and toys to the program, which is located in the basement of the Royal Canadian Legion’s Branch 46 at First Street and Garden Avenue.

They can also turn out with a a donation at the CPR Rail Yard on Tuesday, December 13, for the arrival of the CPR Holiday Train at 6 pm. This year’s entertainment will be Dallas Smith and Odds.

Other ways to assist include:

  • Making a charitable financial donation;
  • Dropping off food donations at Coopers or food bank during open hours;
  • Organize a food drive at your office/school/church/event ;
  • Add a $2 coupon to your purchases at Save-On-Foods and Southside;
  • Donate your Save-On-More Points at Save-On-Foods;
  • Sponsoring a family or senior with gifts and food, or donating gifts to a person in need;
  • Picking an angel from the Christmas tree at CIBC and buying a gift for a child; and
  • Supporting the toy drive at The Red Apple Store.

The items that are moist in need are: cans of tuna, salmon, ham and other meats; pasta, pasta sauce and tomatoes; chunky soups, meal in a tin (i.e. stew); breakfast cereals, pancake mix and syrup; fruit juice and canned milk; canned vegetables and fruit; peanut butter/jam; baby food, cereal and diapers; toiletries such as toothpaste, shampoo and soap; laundry detergent; and pet food, dry or canned.

Other ideas for Christmas Hampers include: New unwrapped toys, books and games; gift boxes of cookies, tea or coffee, specialty foods; calendars, magazines, notepads, pens; candles, napkins, kitchen towels; gloves, scarves, socks; blankets, backpacks, movie bucks; and gift cards from any local store.

The Christmas Hamper Program is open Monday through Saturday until December 23 between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm.