The Cloverdale Christmas Hamper Program has done it again.
This year, nearly 400 households received a hamper of food, and about 150 families with children had presents to put under the Christmas tree.
Cloverdale’s Pacific Community Church has organized the hamper program for more than 25 years. The program relies on the generosity of its community to supply food and gifts. It’s a true community effort. Hundreds of volunteers take in and sort thousands of donations, packing hampers for families in need. COBS Bread gives coupons for fresh loaves of bread, Zinetti Foods donates lasagnas, McDonald’s pitches in with meal coupons, and produce companies provide hundreds of pounds of oranges. Even the space for the hamper storage and sorting in the Cloverdale Agriplex is donated — it’s provided through the Cloverdale Rodeo’s Youth Initiative Foundation.
About 800 elementary school students came through to help pack hampers, as well as sports teams, youth groups, Scout troops and other community groups.
The community donated hundreds of toys. Cloverdale’s newest school, Salish Secondary, organized a toy drive and collected about 200 toys alone. Each family was able to choose one or two toys for each child, as well as a puzzle and a board game. Westwinds Community Church donated $6,000 worth of Willowbrook Mall gift cards this year, so each and every teenager will have a merry Christmas, too.
On top of everything else, the hamper program purchased about $6,000 of grocery gift cards from Cloverdale No Frills with donated money, so every recipient could pick up any extra items they may need.
“Every family gets a food hamper, toys for their kids, a grocery gift card, a mall gift card if their kids are teenagers, hockey tickets from the Trinity Lutheran hockey team, lasagna, McDonald’s coupons, COBS coupons, oranges, milk. They’re pretty well taken care of,” said organizer Matthew Campbell.
“We like to believe that we’re not just meeting someone’s physical needs. We’re trying to meet their emotional and physical needs and welcome them into the community. It’s not just ‘here’s $50, go do your own thing.’
“No, you can feel the love and care of the community coming around you.”