Christmas Cheer Board getting set for the giving season

Amanda Pfrimmer with Farm Credit Canada (left) and Carman and District Christmas Cheer Board Chair Deana Hendricks at the Morden FCC office where there was a food donation as well as cash thanks to FCC's Drive Away Hunger Campaign, and the FCC Community Investment Fund. (supplied photo)

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It’s the season of giving and the Carman and District Christmas Cheer Board is getting set for their three-day blitz in December when the organization packs and distributes Christmas Hampers to those in need, and the group kicked things off this season with a donation from Farm Credit Canada in Morden.

“FCC in Morden has their drive away hunger campaign through the Coops primarily, but also in conjunction with some of the schools in the area,” said Christmas Cheer Board Chair, Deana Hendricks. “I was presented with a cheque for $1,031.03 along with a generous donation of food to help get us started for this year’s hamper season. Some of the cash came from the tills at the checkout and $800 of it is the FCC Community Investment Fund.”

The Christmas Cheer Board depends on monetary donations recently as the organization hasn’t been receiving all the food needed through bin donations. In the last few years, Henricks has found actual donations of food have been declining, however, monetary donations have increased to balance things out.

“We place orders with Coop here and they will start getting things aside for us, putting things away that are on sale for us so we can stretch our dollar and ensure we get everything we need for the families,” said Hendricks. “Cheer board doesn’t have an office and we really only have three days a year that we get this together and that’s when we take in our donations.”

The Cheer Board asks businesses, schools, and families to put food aside specifically for Christmas hampers this season. Hendricks explains there are some bins around town people can drop donations off too.

“If a business wants to put out a collection box it is on their honour,” she said. “They don’t have to tell us or get any permission from us. We just ask them to drop off the food during out packing period at the Carman Community Hall. The Red Apple has a table set up of things we need that people can purchase to donate. KidDance also has a bin up.

“We have a Facebook page, as people put bins out in their businesses I’m asking them to take a picture of the setup and send it to our Facebook page so we can get the word out as to where they are in town are,” Hendricks added.

The deadline to order is December 14, but Hendricks says it’s a very soft deadline, as they’ll try to help someone get a hamper as late as December 18 or 19 when the organization is packing and delivering the support boxes. The three-day packing and delivery blitz goes December 17-19 at the Carman Community Hall, which is where donations can be dropped off.

“Monday and Tuesday evenings from 7-9 p.m. we’ll be packing and sorting donations at the Hall,” outlined Hendricks. “Wednesday at 1 p.m. we will start making deliveries, which we could also use some community members for.”

Last year we the group delivered 152 hampers, which is roughly 20 more hampers from the previous year. Hendricks expects roughly around the same this year.

“We had a lot of new families in our area last year and as far as I know they’re still here. Plus I don’t know who has come and gone from our area,” she adds. “We service a very large area. Sanford, Brunkild, Fannystelle, Homewood, Haywood, St. Claude, Rathwell, Elm Creek, Stephenfield, Roland, Sperling, Roseisle, and all the Rural Municipalities in that area.”

There are some Town offices that will be looking after their own municipality’s hampers like Miami, or the RM of Lorne. The Dufferin Municipality is so close to the RM of Grey, Roland, and Macdonald, and the group won’t draw lines based on that.

“If there are people in those areas that need some help we can either find out if they fit with us or if we can direct them to a closer community for the support they need,” added Hendricks. “We want to make sure everyone who needs a hamper is able to find out where they have to go.”

Search Carman and District Christmas Cheer Board on Facebook to share a picture of bin set-ups around town. Call 204-745-6835 request a Christmas Hamper.