Manitoulin Christmas hamper program tops 500 containers

Volunteers hard at work helping to make hampers at Mindemoya Missionary Church.

MINDEMOYA—The bustling crowd of volunteers have largely set out for home and Manitoulin Help Centre manager Nancy McDermid had an opportunity to chat with The Expositor about this year’s campaign.

“It was very busy,” she admitted. “We had over 500 hampers this year. We are still having the odd one come in, but you can put it down as 500 hampers.” That is up substantially from the 350 hampers prepared last year.

Also up this year, however, were the number of volunteers coming out to help assemble and pack the Christmas hampers that go out to local families in need, foster families and those whose lives have fallen into difficult straits.

“We have 33 regular volunteers who assist us with the Help Centre,” said Ms. McDermid. “For this year’s hamper program we had at least 70 people come out to help with the food baskets. Their spirit is amazing.”

The number of returning volunteers is a definite blessing, noted the manager. “We have a lot of people who come out every year and they know what their jobs are, so it tends to go like clockwork,” she said. “Everyone fell into their old roles.”

The packing of the hampers wrapped up on Thursday, December 18 and emissaries from social service agencies and volunteer organizations were streaming in to collect the festive parcels for their clients.

Although the Christmas hamper program has been an outstanding success, Ms. McDermid noted that the need at the food bank is ongoing throughout the year. “The number of clients at the food bank has gone up by 75 percent. We have new clients coming in every month. It is a really good thing that we have the new building in place.”

Those interested in assisting the Manitoulin Help Centre are encouraged to make a donation payable to Manitoulin Family Resources and to mark their cheques with a memo noting that it is for the Help Centre, Food Bank or Christmas Hamper program and send them to Manitoulin Family Resources, PO Box 181, Mindemoya, ON, P0P 1S0.