Building and Delivering Christmas Hampers

 

The Community Christmas Hamper Fund in Campbell River, BC is organized by the Knights of Columbus, Bishop Hill Council 5468.

The goal of the Hamper Fund is simple: To help ensure that all are able to joyfully celebrate the season of Christmas. To this end the Knights have organized a drive to have hampers delivered in the week before Christmas to some members of the Campbell River Community and surrounding area.

The hampers do not only go to the most vulnerable and marginalized but also to a large number of the “working poor”, people who are having difficulty meeting all the normal daily demands placed on families and individuals. Further there are many seniors, singles and couples, for whom the reception of a Christmas Hamper is central to their ability to enjoy a Christmas celebration.

These hampers contain a generous amount of perishable and non-perishable food items.

The 2023 Christmas Season marked the 50th consecutive year that Hamper Fund has been in existence. Fundamental to the success of the effort is, and has always been, the incredible generosity and social conscience of the people, businesses, organizations, clubs and schools of Campbell River. While the Knights organize the effort, it is the people who drive it. The table shown below gives an idea of the magnitude of the effort. There are 200 hampers assembled on the day before delivery day by volunteers from the community. The next morning the remainder are all assembled and delivered by volunteer residents that day.

YEAR
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
# OF HAMPERS
1185
1096
1156
1190
1158
1142
1155
1154
1150
1090
1075
1066

The hamper fund, as organized by the Knights, was begun in 1972. Prior to that the Jaycees of Campbell River had done the task. On December 4, 1972 there was an article written by Donna Lamb in the local newspaper indicating that the Jaycees would no longer be in a position to continue the effort. Knight Theo Berns approached the then Grand Knight, Theo Derks, to ask if it would be possible for Council 5468 to keep the effort alive. There was agreement and in that first year the Knights delivered 52 hampers and had a working budget of $3,100.

For the first five years the hampers were assembled in the old community centre. Once the number of hampers reached 200, a number that was the case for a few years more, the Knights sought out other temporary premises for the effort. At about the same time they started a bid process among the local grocery stores for the items that were required to fill the hampers, a process that is still in effect today. It is worthy of note, and testimony to the generosity of local building owners, that in all the years that the hamper fund has existed it has happened on only three occasions where there was rent to be paid for the temporary use of a building. In most instances the owners have also absorbed any utility bills as well.

There were many years where the number of hampers hovered between 600 and 800 but in recent years that has increased dramatically. The table above clearly indicates that fact.

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Without the annual generous donations of food items and money the hamper fund would simply cease to exist. Enough groceries, both perishable and non-perishable, are needed to fill the 1075 hampers.

To view what goes into a hamper, please click HERE.

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You don't have to formally sign up to help out, just show up at this year's depot on Saturday, December 16th starting about 8:00am in order to help with the building and delivery of the hampers. The depot is located on Meredith Road just behind the Nissan Service Department.

To see a short movie and get a little better understanding of the event, please click HERE.

If you wish to get more information on dates and times then you may contact the fund using the information shown below in the "CONTACT US" section. The phone line will only be active once the donation office is opened (third week of November).

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In 2023 the hamper registration forms are available at two locations. The first is the Income Assistance Ministry on 14th Avenue behind Save On Foods and the second is the Campbell River Food Bank. All completed forms must be submitted at the Income Asssistance Ministry. There will be a box decorated like a Christmas present on the table in that office. It is in this box that the completed forms must be placed.

Each year there is a registration deadline that is well-advertised in the Campbell River Mirror, on the radio at The River, FM 99.7. This year the deadline is on the day that we have received our quota of 1075 registration, or December 8th, whichever comes first. After this deadline there are "late" registration forms available at the location of the hamper office.

The various health agencies and social ministries in Campbell River also have forms that are used for people who would otherwise be unable to visit the locations mentioned above. This is generally the case for some seniors or people who are ill.

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Mailing Address
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS HAMPER FUND
34 SOUTH ALDER STREET
CAMPBELL RIVER, BC
V9W 2M8

 

Email Address

 

hamperfund2023@gmail.com

 

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