Urgent donation plea called off

The Cloverdale Christmas Hamper Program was able to fill all its hampers this year, despite a drop in donations.

The tables at Pacific Community Church should be stacked with donations of canned and dry goods for the Cloverdale Christmas Hamper Program

An urgent call for assistance by the Cloverdale Christmas Hamper program was called off early Friday, when organizers announced enough donations had come in to meet this year’s need.

“We’re ok now,” program spokesman Kevin Lunder said. “We’ve been able to complete the hampers.”

Recipients were due to pick up their hampers Saturday, Dec. 15.

The contents will differ slightly from previous years, particularly where protein donations are concerned.

“We weren’t able to give what we did last year,” he said.

For the first time in its 20-plus year operation, the annual holiday food relief program for Cloverdale’s neediest residents found itself running short on donations in the campaign’s final week.

Wednesday, officials issued a plea for donations from the community, fearing a shortfall of supplies, particularly personal care items, baby food, gifts for teenagers and cash used to purchase perishable and non-perishable food supplies to top up the hampers.

“Some may think of hampers as cute little baskets with a bow on top, but we offer each family several large boxes full in the hopes that it will get them through a couple of months,” program representative Holly Zonneveld said.

The hampers go to individuals, group homes, assisted living facilities and families – including 200 children and 300 babies in the Cloverdale area.

The ample warehouse at Pacific Community Church in Cloverdale acts as the nerve centre for volunteers who assemble the hampers.

The tables would normally be stacked with donations of canned and dry goods, but as of Wednesday morning they were virtually bare.

Response to the call for help was swift; for instance, the Surrey RCMP donated two car-fulls’ worth of items, after hosting food drive events, including one at Hillcrest Mall.

Confusion over the donation deadline may be partly to blame for the last-minute rush of donations. Some regular sources of donations didn’t realize the deadline – Dec. 10 – was so early this year, Lunder said.

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