The County of Lamont Food Bank is taking applications for Christmas hampers until mid December.
Applications for this years’ Christmas Hamper program started on November 18 and runs until December 12. Distribution of the Christmas Hampers will take place on Dec. 22.
“We usually distribute up to 40 food hampers every month, But we do an additional 70 – 90 in December for the Christmas Hamper Program,” said Colette McBride, County of Lamont Food Bank Chair.
McBride said not only do the Christmas Hampers include food but Christmas presents for children as well.
“People apply for the Christmas Hamper because they have children and need those gifts,” she noted. “We purchase age appropriate gifts according to what they have indicated.”
McBride explained that the gifts are placed in the hamper, unwrapped, giving parents an opportunity to go through the gifts and wrap it themselves.
“We do between 30 and 40 hampers a month, but at Christmas, people can get a weekly hamper in addition to their Christmas hamper,” she added.
While Christmas does remain slightly busier than other times of year, the food bank is constantly busy.
Clients will contact the food bank by Tuesday at noon to indicate if they will need a hamper for that week. This gives food bank volunteers time to purchase perishable items before the hamper pick up on Thursdays.
A recent donation, in the amount of $1000 came from the Chipman Hotel to the Food Bank. Hotel employee Gina Roberts together with owner Dave Magee, hold the Haunted Hotel during the Halloween season with the goal of assisting the County of Lamont Food Bank with donations from visitors to the ghostly event. This year Magee added $500 to keep his pledge of topping up the donation total so it would come to $1000.
“We rely on donations of food, but cash helps us buy things we are short of,” said McBride. “This includes things which are hard to donate such as milk, cheese and fresh fruit.”
The food bank has between eight and ten weekly volunteers who help put together the hampers as well as nine people on the board.
She noted that confidentiality for clients is taken very seriously.
“Our clients are booked to pick up their hampers every 10 – 15 minutes,” said McBride. “During Christmas, the firefighters from Lamont and Chipman help out by assisting clients in finding their hampers, which are identified by a number and helping them out to their vehicles. They are very good at working with confidentiality.”
McBride stated that although the food bank will see clients from all demographics, she has noticed a rise in the number of seniors accessing the food bank.
“Their Canada pension doesn’t go as far as a pay check did when they were working. They erode their savings and they have nothing left,” she said.
The Christmas Hamper program serves the entire county of Lamont, except Bruderheim.
“Bruderheim has their own Christmas Hamper program,” McBride noted.
Should you or someone you know need the services of the food bank, or you would like to make a donation, please leave a message at 780-619-6955.
Although the food bank shares space with the Alliance Church in Lamont, both organizations are not affiliated.
Written by: Jana Semeniuk