Volunteers are raising money for the Chamber's annual Turkey Drive.

Volunteers are raising money for the Chamber's annual Turkey Drive.

Chamber Turkey Drive in full swing

Business community raising money to support Christmas Hamper program.

  • Nov. 26, 2015 10:00 a.m.

For the Townsman

The Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce has launched their annual Turkey Drive.  Working in support of the Cranbrook Food Bank and the Salvation Army the Chamber is raising funds to support the Christmas Hamper Program.

The Turkey Drive will culminate with a fun day Thursday December 3 with a final all-out effort to reach this year’s goal of $28,000 There is a need this year for over 750 Christmas Hampers in Cranbrook.

The average Christmas hamper costs $85.00 for a total of $64,000.  In its sixth year the Turkey Drive has raised over $130,000 to help these two vital local agencies support families in our community.

“We are working to ensure that everyone has a Christmas dinners,” said Jason Wheeldon, 2015 Turkey Driver chair.  “A donation of a turkey, or turkeys, can make such a difference.  The need is year round but is especially poignant at this time of year.”

The Chamber Turkey Drive has grown into the largest contributor to the local hamper program from humble roots when a local community agency put a call out to the business community when they did not have sufficient resources to fill the hamper program.

Staff and volunteers of the Chamber sprang to action phoning Chamber members and within 4 hours had raised the money to ensuring families would receive a hamper that year. The 2015 Turkey Drive has begun online and with celebrity pledgers working to ensure the program is a success.

“Our Little Pluckers as we like to call them are well known and gregarious business people who are hugely instrumental to our success,” said Chief Turkey Chair Wheeldon.

The Little Pluckers have been actively soliciting donations and the Chamber website has been set up this year to allow people the ease to make their contributions on line.  Wheeldon says the goals could not be obtained without the work of the Little Pluckers.

“The Pluckers are out beating the bushes for turkeys and their efforts are really appreciated as we would not have anywhere near the success without their help.”

The Chamber Turkey Drive ensures, with the support of our community, that all families in need can receive a Christmas Hamper. There are hundreds of stories like this each year of appreciation for the assistance received from the hamper program.

“It was the 22nd of December 2012.  There was a knock at the door, I answered it and no one was there.  I ran over to the window, leaving the door open, trying to see out the front window to see who had just been there.  I saw tail lights.  I walked back over to the door.  There was a box.   A box wrapped around the outside with gift wrap.  A box which, once I looked into it, there was  a turkey, a hand full of potatoes, a freezer bag of carrots, a can of corn, a can of cranberry jelly, a pack of gravy four homemade buns and a box of stovetop.   I won’t try to explain how it made me feel, I will simply say it did.  It made me feel…   Parts of me still wants to know who it was so I can hug them”

The Chamber really hopes the support of the community remains strong.

To help the Chamber help the community through the Turkey Drive has never been easier:

• On the website, you can securely purchase turkeys and will automatically receive your tax receipt.

•You can call the Chamber office 250 426 5914 using your Visa or MasterCard or you can stop in at the Chamber office and use Visa, MasterCard or Interact.

The Little Pluckers celebrity crew will be glad to assist you in helping our community.  They include; Michael  Hardy, Melissa Hambalek, Carrie Schaffer, Heather Smith, Chad Jensen, Chris Thom, Karin Penner, Jason Wheeldon, Denise Pallesen, Joey Hoechsmann, Frank Vandenbroek and Warren Bedell