The Cloverdale Christmas Hamper Program has found a home for the holidays at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds.
The hamper program, now in its 26th year, gathers donations from local schools and businesses and delivers hampers of food to about 600 Cloverdale residents each Christmas.
Last week, organizer Matthew Campbell told the Cloverdale Reporter that the program was looking for warehouse space to use for about a month in November and December.
This week, Campbell is happy to report that the hamper program has been offered the use of the Agriplex at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds for a week in December at no charge, as part of the Cloverdale Rodeo’s Youth Initiative Fund.
“We’re very excited that the rodeo has offered this for us. It’s amazing that they stepped up like that,” said Campbell.
Jen Temple, who volunteers with the hamper program, was the one who initially reached out to the Cloverdale Rodeo association to ask if they would lend a helping hand. She said their response was generous and part of the reason she loves her community.
According to Temple, Cloverdale Rodeo general manager Mike MacSorley said, “Giving it to you is the right thing to do.”
“Well, we’ve got nothing on the go for that week,” said MacSorley, laughing as he said that they “might as well” give the space to the hamper program in December.
But in all seriousness, he said, “If we can help the community, we will. As always.”
Not only will the offer of the Agriplex mean the show will go on, it will also mean that the hamper program can expand this year.
The hamper program was searching for a warehouse space between 5,000 and 8,000 sq. ft. in order to house about 50,000 pounds of donated food. But this year, the volunteers will be operating out of the 22,000 sq. ft., room enough to take in more donations than ever.
“We can expand,” said Campbell. “We can do a little more, give more, pack more [hampers].”
Campbell also proposed the idea of setting up activities for kids – such as a bouncy castle – in the extra space, for the families that will come in to pick up a hamper this holiday season.
The hamper program will be using the Agriplex from December 10—17, and will have to store early donations on site.
“We won’t have [the space] as early as usual because it’s rented out,” said Temple, noting it might pose a challenge.
Campbell agreed, saying that the program was still trying to “figure out the storage.”
As the Agriplex is rented out to other community groups and events in the meantime, the hamper program will have to find a place to put the donations. The Cloverdale Rodeo association has said they can make use of some of the parking lot, so now Campbell is on the lookout for a storage container to house donations.
He said he’s hoping a trucking or shipping company might help the program by donating the use of a few shipping containers to house donations on the fairgrounds, starting in late November.
Anyone who knows of a company who might be able to provide a storage container is welcome to contact Campbell at email@example.com.
To learn more about the Cloverdale Christmas Hamper, visit pacificcommunity.ca.