Nadine Cunningham and her five-year-old son Ryker Voss help to sort hampers at the Smithers Community Services Association Christmas food hamper depot in 2019. (Archive photo)

Nadine Cunningham and her five-year-old son Ryker Voss help to sort hampers at the Smithers Community Services Association Christmas food hamper depot in 2019. (Archive photo)

Smithers steps up to meet increased Christmas hamper demand

Despite COVID-19, donations up 30 per cent over 2019

With tremendous support from our local community, Smithers Community Services Association (SCSA) was able to successfully run the Christmas Hampers program in December.

Going into the program, organizers knew that there would be more applicants and fewer donations of food and toys than usual.

In a November interview with The Interior News, program coordinator Anne Harfenist said “It might not be as great as previous years, but maybe the community will step up and it’ll be phenomenal.”

SCSA is pleased to report that it was, indeed, phenomenal.

Christmas Hampers 2020 delivered 401 hampers to 1,210 people, of whom 30 per cent were children, in the region of Smithers, Telkwa and Witset.

This represents a 25 per cent increase, from the approximately 300 hampers and fewer than 1,000 people in previous years.

Fortunately, the significant increase in the number of individuals, businesses and organizations that sponsored families and donated cash, enabled SCSA to meet this increased demand.

Donations ranged from a young girl who brought in the money she had raised shovelling snow to the companies that chose to donate and then encouraged others in their sectors to do the same.

Volunteers were fewer than in most years because of COVID restrictions limiting the number of people who could be in the Christmas Hampers depot at any one time.

Every volunteer followed the strict guidelines in place to ensure that the hampers and other workers were safe.

The SCSA Christmas Hamper program extends its sincerest appreciation for the overwhelming support and generosity we experienced this season.With thanks!

-Contributed

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