Hamper program helps more than 600 Cloverdale residents

From Girl Guides and hockey teams to small businesses, churches and families, volunteers overwhelm the Cloverdale Christmas Hamper Program.

JENNIFER LANG PHOTO Trish and Kevin Lunder

A wide net of support from every corner of Cloverdale helped ensure an annual food drive that assists hundreds was a success, whether that support was collecting donations – or sorting and assembling food hampers.

The massive volunteer effort meant the Cloverdale Christmas Hamper Program was once again able to take care of those in need, says Kevin Lunder, who acts as program lead with his wife, Trish.

Pacific Community Church is the nerve centre each December, when an army of volunteers sorts and assembles hundreds of food hampers for the non-denominational, seasonal relief program.

“We were overwhelmed with the amount of volunteer help that came through the warehouse this year,” Lunder said. “Hockey teams, soccer teams, Scouts, Girl Guides, church groups, families, local small businesses, [the] RCMP, Save on Foods, Kwantlen College, the rec center, Fraser Downs, Sources Employment Services Centre, the list goes on.”

The 2014 campaign assisted 348 adults and 279 children (including 78 teens), for a total of 627 Cloverdale residents.

The hampers contain grocery items. Recipients also receive gift and grocery cards valued at $25 or $75, depending on the size of the family, in order to help them through the holidays.

Children also receive toys. Donations are arranged in a toy room, where, on hamper pickup day, parents can pick out age appropriate gifts and clothing.

Tens of thousands of dollars in cash and food donations are needed in order to assemble enough hampers to meet the community’s growing need.

It takes the combined effort of local churches, schools, businesses, community organizations, and individuals to make it happen.

“We took the time this year to go around and thank many of the key players who help this program year after year, and presented with with thank-you plaques,” Lunder said. “So many people help make this Cloverdale program successful.”

The majority of the 375-plus donation boxes set up throughout the community were dropped off at local elementary and secondary schools.

High school students do the heavy lifting when it comes to collecting non-perishables. Clayton Heights Secondary almost doubled the amount of food raised over last year, Lunder said.

The school’s wood-working class donated custom-made wooden toys.

The hamper program was founded by Jacob Schuurman and his wife Ida, who ran the program for 17 years. Kevin and Trish Lunder have acted as program leads for the past four years.

The Lunders expressed deep gratitude to everyone who got involved this year, and included special thanks to the CCHP team (see “Ending 2014 on a Happy Note,” Jan. 1), including toy room coordinator Lisa Vandermeer.

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