Demand increasing for hamper program

Despite more than 25,000 kilograms of food collected so far at Nanaimo's Christmas Hamper Program,more is needed.

Despite more than 25,000 kilograms of food collected so far at Nanaimo’s Christmas Hamper Program, more will be needed to help feed the city’s hungry over the holidays.

“If we’re going to get anywhere near to last year’s 53,000 kilograms, we’re going to need a real blitz this last week,” said Jim Duddridge, program spokesman. “In the past we would get to this last week and wonder if we’re going to make it and every year the community comes through.”

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

Duddridge said a number of large contributions are expected in the coming days as individuals and organizations wrap up their food drives.

“We want people to keep gathering as long as they can,” he said. “We had close to 4,000 kilograms donated Monday.”

Hamper distribution takes place next week (Dec 20-22) and donations are accepted until the last day at 867 Bruce St., Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The public can also go to www.hampervillenanaimo.org to find other donation depots.

“We have a lot of people supporting our cause,” said Duddridge. “There are food drives at schools, every supermarket in town is taking donations and of course the Big Boys Toys [motor home] is downtown at Diana Krall Plaza on Thursday gathering money and food donations.”

Last year close to 2,000 hampers were distributed to feed 4,200 people. This year’s numbers are already higher and still increasing.

“Registration is ongoing to Dec. 22 and we will never turn anyone away,” said Duddridge. “The only problem with last-minute would be supplying fresh produce and meat.”

For registration information, please call  250-591-8650 or e-mail christmas.hampers@hotmail.com.