For the 33rd consecutive year, Squamish residents donated their time, money and items to help make someone else’s Christmas a lot brighter.
The annual Community Christmas Care saw a total of 408 hampers assembled and distributed around town and co-chair Darcy Reimer said it was another successful campaign.
“As far as the actual sorting, packing and delivery it went without a hitch,” he said. “It went really well for us and it’s the most organized we’ve ever been. We also had the highest number of drivers and volunteers that I can remember.”
He said the number is slightly down from last year’s sum of 420, but that more individuals received hampers this year. Last year saw several hampers going to the same home.
Since Nov. 1, a team of 15 to 20 has been fundraising, picking up items and storing them. Tuesday (Dec. 17) was the final day for business pickup and it was also sorting day. Wednesday (Dec. 18) was packing day and delivery on Thursday (Dec. 19) saw close to 70 volunteers pass the hampers out to local families.
Reimer said the volunteers are what helps make the event run smoothly.
“I’m always amazed at the volunteers,” he said. “There are folks that put this in their calendar every year and are always involved. Just the quantity of what shows up at the depot can be overwhelming and it can take a lot of work. The local churches are also to be noted because without them, we wouldn’t be able to pull this off.”
He said the McDonald’s fundraiser on Dec. 12 was a highlight, as well as the assistance that members of the Howe Sound Sounders football team offered on delivery day.
“The McDonald’s event was a real highlight for us and it’s great how much support the owner has given to us,” he said. “His goal was to raise $10,000 and we far exceeded that goal.”
“Another cool thing was that the football team came out — we needed some muscle on delivery day and these young guys showed up really willing to work hard and they did. Many of our volunteers are retired or semi-retired so their help in loading up some of the vehicles was a huge help.”
Reimer said local schools also got into the act, with Mamquam Elementary and Howe Sound Secondary School leading the way. “Those two schools really helped put us over the top,” he said.
He said seeing the joy that hampers bring to local families makes it all worthwhile.
“I’ve done deliveries almost every year and there are folks who are speechless,” he said. “The response is awesome and sometimes you get someone who breaks down in tears. Usually it’s the folks that it’s the first time they’ve received a hamper and when we show up they’re blown away. It’s pretty heart warming when you see that.”
Reimer said they’re always looking for volunteers and it’s about a six-week commitment, with most of the work ramping up in mid-November. For more details on the campaign, visit www.communitychristmascare.com.