Sometimes the most joyful Christmas moments are the ones that no one is expecting.
That is the case for the volunteers who put together hampers each year for families in need in the community.
“The best one for me is when somebody doesn’t even know it’s coming,” said Rayleen Brewer, manager of the annual Christmas Hamper campaign. “Maybe somebody in the community will notice there is a family in need and that family is too proud to come in so they put their name in for them….You see those kids little faces when they see the bags of presents coming in. It’s pretty special.”
The deadline to apply for a hamper this year is Friday, December 4th. Applications can be made at the Crisis Centre Thrift Shop.
Last year 110 hampers were delivered throughout the community but so far this season demand seems to be a little slower. “I don’t know if it’s that people have done better this year or not,” said Brewer. “I hope that’s the case.”
There is generally a rush in the days leading up to the deadline, and “I usually say it’s a deadline and then end up taking some more the following week. We can’t say no when someone walks into the store with kids.”
Each Christmas hamper contains everything a family needs for a holiday dinner, as well as additional non-perishable food depending on what donations are received.
In addition to food organizers are asking for donations of toys with a special plea for gifts suited for older children.
“We usually get lots of stuff for little kids but unfortunately we have a lot of teenagers too, so the things we need most are body washes and perfumes and hair stuff.”
Donations of gloves, hats and scarves are also needed as they are provided to every child in the program, she said.
Brewer’s advice to those wishing to donate to Christmas Hampers is to “think about a Christmas dinner that you would want or a gift that you would want for your teenager…People here never cease to amaze us with their generosity.”
Cash donations can be dropped off at the Thrift Store on Vermilion Avenue or mailed to Box 1229 Princeton, V0X 1W0. Toys or other donations can be dropped off in collection boxes located at Shoppers Drug Mart, Coopers Foods, The Source, Home Hardware and the Loonie Bin.
Baskets will be delivered from the basement of the Living Water Community Church on Kenley Avenue on December 21 starting at 10 am.