Once again this year Cranbrook has come together to ensure the Salvation Army has enough donations to fulfill the Christmas Hamper requests from those in need. The hampers are full of food and goodies to make it a special Christmas dinner for those who receive one. The organization uses donations from the Kettle Campaign, and those directly to the hamper program, to purchase items for the hampers.
Nancy Lemire, from the Salvation Army in Cranbrook, said the drive went great.
“A lot of organizations donated directly to hampers, and that’s exactly where that goes,” Lemire said. “And then for instance the Kettle Campaign, the money from that goes to support all the programs that we offer.”
Lemire said they are always in need of gifts to go with the hamper.
“Kids 15 years old and younger are also provided with a gift that their parents can choose at the hamper pickup,” she said.
Lemire said they are usually short — especially on gifts for teenagers. She noted things like hoodies, tops and movie passes are what they are looking for for teenagers.
The Salvation Army has been working on the applications since Nov. 12. Today Dec. 17, as well as yesterday, there are drop-in appointments to apply for a hamper.
Lemire said the need for hampers was similar to last year.
“This is an amazing community, so oftentimes people are helped in different areas,” she said. “Sometimes a school might recognize a need for family in different ways. Sometimes they have that pointed out to us, or sometimes they go ahead and support that.”
Depending on the size of the family, hampers consist of either a ham or turkey, stuffing, kraft dinner, beans, peanut butter, margarine, eggs, pancake mix, frozen vegetables, milk, bread, potatoes and oranges.
“That’s a standard hamper,” she said. “Basically, that’s Christmas dinner and Christmas breakfast.”
But she noted the need doesn’t end on Dec. 25 for most families.
“January is not always an easy month for folks, because they’ve done what they can to make Christmas a special occasion,” she said. “So January is usually a tough month for folks, one of the toughest months for people.
“A lot of the money that we collect during our big campaign goes to help the folks in January too. That includes schools lunches, soup kitchen and dinners here. As well it goes to support some of the social services here as well as our dental clinic.
“This money that is collected will help people in this community and outlying areas for the year. We’ll do the best we can with the money we receive.”
You can bring donations to the Salvation Army, donate to the kettles around town or go to the website fillthekettle.com. You can also text HOPE1019 to 45678 which will make a $5 donation through your phone bill.