December 08, 2015 - 1:19 PM
KAMLOOPS - While some are busy decorating their trees, putting up holiday lights or buying gifts, others are working to make sure the less fortunate can still have a fulfilling holiday season.
There are many charities looking to help out the homeless or the families one paycheque away from becoming homeless and many are looking for help to get through the holidays.
The Kamloops Salvation Army is hoping to collect $200,000 before Christmas with the kettle campaign. As of Nov. 30, that amount was at $40,822.
Lisa Trickett says without meeting the goal, the location won’t be able to go ‘above and beyond’ for its clients over the holiday season, which has happened in the past.
“Client assistance was just mainly food with great regret,” she says. “We were not able to do the over and beyond — helping people with rent and hydro."
Last year the Kamloops location provided 1,508 food hampers. More than 30,000 people accessed services, which cost roughly $22,000. More than 10,000 hot meals were provided to Kamloops locals as well, at a cost of $42,000.
The Salvation Army is 100 per cent funded by the community and plans to celebrate its centennial this year.
The Kamloops Food Bank at 171 Wilson St. will likely feed more than 500 households for Christmas this year with its specialty hampers.
Operations manager Wes Graham says September and October were the two busiest months of the year and the number of households expected to access hampers near Christmas could change. He’s still determining how many clients accessed the food bank in November.
“It does look good going into Christmas,” he says. “We just did our specialty hampers in Thanksgiving. We can always use larger turkeys and hams for some of the families. It’s nice because we use that meat for larger family groups."
Wes Graham shows off the food bank's freezer which is holding multiple meat items to include in the Christmas hampers this year.
(GLYNN BROTHEN /InfoTel Multimedia)
Beyond a meat product, the specialty hamper will have potatoes, onions, carrots, stuffing, cranberry sauce and miscellaneous items available at the bank. Graham says that usually includes what’s supplied to them from local grocery stores from their food recovery program, which is the largest in Canada on the retail side.
Graham says the extras this year could be hygiene products and hot chocolate.
As for what the public could donate, Graham says cranberry sauce is one of the more expensive items to include in the holiday package. People are also encouraged to donate fruits and vegetables and he says the food bank is always in need of baby items, like blankets.
Not all organizers have locations and funds like the Salvation Army and Food Bank. Sara Gillis is working to provide clothing to those accessing the Emerald Centre during the cold weather.
Gillis, 19, says the items the centre is most in need of are socks and underwear.
“The centre is seriously lacking socks. Every person that comes in gets a brand new pair of underwear and socks. They’re the items donated the least,” she says.
Gillis says it’s her goal to do all she can to ensure the centre is well stocked.
"I just want people to be aware that this is what Christmas is about. It’s not about stressing about presents or money,” she says.
Click here to see Gillis' Gofundme account.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015