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Nanaimo Christmas hamper program in full swing

With less than a month to go before Christmas, work for the Nanaimo Christmas hampers program is in full swing.

Started about a decade ago by Loaves of Fishes Community Food Bank and Nanaimo Salvation Army, the program gathers donations of food, which are distributed to the less fortunate during the holiday season. Donations of cash are also accepted.

According to Jim Duddridge, hamper program communications director, any food collected by Loaves and Fishes and the Salvation Army from mid-November to Christmas goes to the hamper program, with close to 400 volunteers working hard to prepare for hamper distribution taking place between Dec. 19 and 21.

“We’re gathering food now, sorting it, and within a week or so, we’ll be putting it together into hampers,” Duddrige said. “Registration is ongoing, it’s been going on now for probably two to three weeks now. We’ve been gathering names of people for recipients, so that will keep going until Dec. 18.”

He said an approximate total of 57,152 kilograms of food was collected last year and the hope is to either meet or exceed that in 2013. Hampers are available for single people and families of varying sizes and there is a good supply of fresh food as well as non-perishable food items.

At last count, about 3,628 kilograms of food has been collected so far this year, which is on par with last year at this time, according to Duddridge.

“Nanaimo’s always very generous,” Duddridge said. “We find that people, in the last week or two, ramp things up, plus we get our big donors come in. We get the schools with their stuff coming in ... malls come in with big donations, the [Big Boys Toys motorhome] comes in with their donations so things take off in that last week or two.”

The Nanaimo Christmas hamper program headquarters is located at the old Madill building at 2560 Bowen Rd. and registration for the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive is also taking place at the facility.

For more information, please call 250-751-9780 or e-mail info@hampervillenanaimo.org.

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