Christmas in Nanaimo: Hamper program allows charities to continue help

For all the fun and excitement most Nanaimo residents experience over the holidays, there are those suffering.

For all the fun and excitement most Nanaimo residents experience over the holidays, there are those suffering, not knowing where their next meal is coming from.

For those, there is the Christmas Hamper Program.

Also known as Hamperville, the program was developed in 2004 by the Salvation Army and Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank to help the less fortunate of Nanaimo.

Run 100 per cent by volunteers, the program accepts  food and cash donations to help the hungry.

Until Dec. 22, a dedicated team of almost 300 volunteers will be answering calls, collecting and sorting food, and assembling hampers.

Last year Hamperville collected more than 53,000 kilograms of non-perishable food and enough cash donations to purchase $40,000 worth of fresh food including chickens, hams, oranges, potatoes, carrots, bread, milk, cheese and eggs.

Volunteers distributed 2,000 hampers, helping 4,200 people and this year the need is even greater.

All funding comes from community efforts and hunger in the community remains high.

Jim Duddridge, program publicity coordinator, said people are generous in a time of giving.

“What we gather usually sees the Salvation Army and Loaves and Fishes through January and February which are generally slow times in terms of donations,” he said. “It’s vital to be able to pass food on to them.”

Many people visit the food bank and community meal program to meet the basic need of food.

The Christmas Hamper Program is at 867 Bruce Ave.

For more information, please call 250-591-8650, e-mail christmas.hampers@hotmail.com or visit www.hampervillenanaimo.org.

The website has a continually updated list of most wanted items for the hampers.