Just before Christmas, volunteers with the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA) delivered hampers to 163 recipients through the Christmas Cheer program.
Forty-two of those hampers — which include all the food needed to provide a Christmas dinner, as well as gifts for family members — were sponsored by individuals and businesses, and of those 42, 20 were sponsored by Oceanview Community Church.
Scott Bastian, who co-ordinated the program this year with Heather Owsianski, says there was “tons of” food donated at the schools and churches this year, and the Christmas Cheer program also receives a lot of ongoing support from local businesses, who put out donation boxes.
Fresh food comes from 49th Parallel Grocery and Save-on-Foods, and all the donations are collected, sorted and placed in hampers to help brighten up the holidays for people in Ladysmith. After the hampers are distributed, any food and items that are left over are given to the Ladysmith Food Bank.
Besides food, each hamper also contains Christmas gifts, and Bastian says they could always use more gift items for older youth, as they found there were less gifts provided for people in the 12-18 age group.
“A lot of stuff gets donated for younger people, but there’s a segment of people with teenagers,” he said.
Bastian says the hamper recipients range from single people to families with children, including blended families and families where grandparents are raising their grandchildren.
“There is a lot of need in the town, and there is also a lot of generosity in the community,” said Bastian.
This year’s 163 hamper recipients is pretty comparable to previous years, as the LRCA distributed 171 hampers in 2013, 155 in 2012, 169 in 2011 and 167 in 2010.
Donations for the Christmas Cheer program are always gratefully accepted throughout the year. The LRCA is also grateful for volunteer help. Bastian says at least 40 people volunteered each day over the three days it took to sort, pack and distribute the hampers before Christmas, and there are many ways to help throughout the year. Anyone who is interested in volunteering with the Christmas hamper program can contact the LRCA at 250-245-3709 or visit 630 Second Ave.