“A little mini Christmas miracle” is taking place on Main Street in Smithers, where volunteers are building about 300 hampers to brighten the holiday season for people in need this December.
The Smithers Community Services Association (SCSA) has been running its annual hamper program for 31 years.
Every Christmas the SCSA compiles about 300 hampers, which contain non-perishable foods as well as a gift and a book for any children aged 16 and under.
Earlier this week the association opened the doors to its hamper depot, where donations will be collected and packaged, at the old Mark’s on the corner of Main Street and 4th Avenue.
About 70 volunteers will help man the depot, where Bulkley Valley residents can donate food or gifts between 10 a.m. and 5.30 p.m until Dec. 19.
The hampers, which rely entirely on donations from the community, will be distributed on Dec. 20, reaching about 1,000 people in total.
Dawn Hanson, one of the coordinators, said the program has managed to meet demand every year.
“It’s a little mini Christmas miracle actually,” Hanson said.
“You open up this depot and you have 300 boxes and you think ‘how is this going to happen’, and through volunteers and the community … it comes together every year and it’s amazing.”
She said the hamper recipients were always very grateful.
“We’ve had people say that this is my extra food for Christmas, this is it, there’s nothing else,” she said.
On Saturday, Dec. 6, the RE/MAX Christmas Hamper Swim will be held at the Bulkley Valley Regional Pool from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission to the pool and fitness centre will be free with the donation of a non-perishable food item or toy.
Also on Dec. 6, volunteers will be encouraging Safeway shoppers to help fill a Smithers & Area Transit bus in the parking lot with food donations.
Throughout December the Smithers Public Library will waive fines in exchange for a donation, and on Dec. 12 admission to the Smithers Civic Centre Arena from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. is free with cash or food donation.
Non-perishable food donations will also be collected at the Steelheads game on Saturday, Dec. 13.