Salvation Army gets ready for Christmas

The Salvation Army and the Cranbrook Food Bank are busy preparing to put together Christmas Hampers.

Bill Bennetts

Bill Bennetts

Arne Petryshen

The Salvation Army and the Cranbrook Food Bank are busy preparing to put together Christmas Hampers. The Salvation Army is finishing its application process for the hampers and will begin handing them out next week.

Nancy Lemire, from the Salvation Army, said donation are coming in many forms.

“From Kettles, to Baker Street fundraisers, to Turkey Drives and Bankers’ Auctions,” she said. “The donations are right on what we expect them to be and what they have been in the past. The entire area is continuing to look after less fortunate people. It’s amazing.”

At this point, the Salvation Army is winding down the process to apply for a Christmas hamper. To get a hamper, a person can make an appointment and see the community ministries coordinator.

“Finances are looked at and need is determined,” she said. “When that happens you are given a pick up slip, so we’re going to hand out hampers on the 22nd to all the people who qualified, which is basically everyone in need that came — they will be provided with Christmas dinner and Christmas breakfast, and some extra treats and fruit and things, and gifts for children 15 years and under.”

Thursday, Dec. 17, is the last day for appointments.

Lemire said they have also been quite fortunate in that there have been 27 individuals or organizations that have wanted to “adopt” a family for Christmas.

“Those numbers are up and that’s wonderful,” she said. “It’s just another way for families to get looked after. We would be providing the hamper and the gifts otherwise, but often when folks are adopted out, the hampers are a little fluffier, the gifts are a little richer — it’s really quite nice.”

Lemire said they will be able to keep up with the increased demand for hampers thanks to the generosity of the region.

Lemire said many faces have changed and many are still the same.

“We’ve talked about it for the last few years, but there is a lot of working poor, that struggle to make ends meet that need the assistance of the food bank and the Salvation Army. That’s what seems to grow, is that group.”

Donations come in from all over the region, but the hampers are served by the local community organizations.

“Each community kind of looks after their own hamper. We of course would serve anybody that honestly really comes in,” she said, but added they recommend for instance going to the Kimberley Food Bank for your hamper if you live in Kimberley.

“There’s a church in Kimberley that’s doing a certain amount of hampers, as well as a bunch of the schools, put together and do a bunch of hampers themselves. There are a few other organizations that kind of quietly offer out.”

She said one of those is Kootenay Haven Transition House for Women.

“They tend to care for their folks a year after they leave, in ways like that,” she said.

Lemire said the Salvation Army also runs an extreme weather shelter from Nov. 1 to March 31.

“Those folks don’t have anywhere to cook a meal, so we take some of the resources that we receive from the donations and we make sure those folks have a special Christmas too,” she said.