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 as well as toys for children and gifts for seniors.

The 2019 Christmas Season marked the 46th 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
# OF HAMPERS
1185
1096
1156
1190
1158
1142
1155
1154

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 two 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, money, toys and gifts for seniors, the hamper fund would simply cease to exist. Enough groceries, both perishable and non-perishable, are needed to fill the 1100 to 1200 hundred hampers.

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

In addition there are normally over 700 hampers that contain gifts for seniors or toys for children.

Donations of all types can be made at the Hamper Depot location or by mail using the address given in the "CONTACT US" section lower on this page. The location of the Hamper Office for 2020 is in the Tyee Plaza in the former True Blue Pet store at 1135 Shoppers Row. The office will be open starting November 16th to accept donations of non-perishable foods, new toys and money. The office is open from Monday to Saturday in November and December. In November the hours are from 10:00am until 4:00pm and in December from 10:00am until 5:00pm.

An official income tax receipt will be either sent in early January by mail for any donation of money. At the actual time of the donation made at the hamper office a temporary receipt is issued. There is no receipt given for either donated toys or food. If a donation is made online, then CanadaHelps.org will issue an official Canadian tax receipt for the donation.

To make a donation to the Hamper Fund through CanadaHelps.org, please click on the DONATE button below.

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You don't have to formally sign up to help out, just show up at this year's depot at the former Target building on Saturday, December 19th starting about 8:00am in order to help with the delivery of the hampers. Due to the covid-19 pandemic there is an alternative plan in place to build the hampers as we are very limited in the number of people that may congregate in the closed space. This year the general public will be able to volunteer to aid with the delivery of the hampers..

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 2020 the hamper application forms are available at two locations. The first is the Hamper Fund Office in the Tyee Plaza in the former True Blue Pet store and the second is the Campbell River Food Bank. At both of these locations applicants will be required to pick up a blank form and bring it elsewhere to be completed. All completed forms must be returned to the Hamper Fund Office. There will be a box decorated like a Christmas present on the table near the door. It is in this box that the completed forms must be placed.

Each year there is an application deadline that is well-advertised in the Campbell River Mirror, on the radio at 2Day FM 99.7. This year the deadline is on the day that we have received our quota of 1160 applications, or December 5th, whichever comes first. After this deadline there are "late" application 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 Employment & Income Assistance to fill out a form. 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

 

Phone

250-914-3716

November: Monday to Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm
December: Monday to Saturday 10:00am to 5:00pm

 

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