This year’s Christmas hamper process changed due to the COVID19 pandemic. Only monetary donations were requested and received online through the MMOC website, mass basket collections, or dropped off at the parish office. Typically, we would contact the Christmas Cheer Board and request 25 large families that reside in the surrounding areas. However, with the restrictions on church services, possible financial hardships of parishioners and the Christmas Cheer Board only distributing grocery vouchers this year, we were hesitant to request a specific number of families and felt monetary donations would be more beneficial than hampers.
We did assist one family from the parish, and as requested by the refugee committee, another family, one adult, and two newly arrived refugee men. There was a total of 5 children compared to 78 last year. The hampers were all delivered on December 12th. It was very successful!
Monetary donations were used to purchase gifts for one child, gift cards for the teenagers, gifts for the two refugee men, and a gift card for the adult man.
Three turkeys were purchased for the three families and one small chicken was purchased for the single adult using monetary donations.
Monetary donations were also used to purchase non-perishable items (recommended food items by the Christmas Cheer Board) and other goods from Sobeys such as milk, butter, eggs, oranges, potatoes, cereal, bread, flour, coffee, foil roasting pans, and chocolates. The Sobeys assistant store manager heavily assisted by selecting all the goods for us, selecting ones that were on sale, and having it all bagged and ready for us to be picked up on the morning of Saturday, December 12th. They donated all the reusable bags which were used to deliver all the groceries and the turkeys/chicken. The Sobeys manager and assistant manager were thanked for their assistance. Everything ran very smoothly.
All the hampers were delivered on Saturday, December 12th. A cheque in the amount of $6,832.52 has been issued to the Christmas Cheer Board for the balance of unused monetary donations.
This is our fourth year with the hamper process, and we feel it went well overall. Next year we hope that the pandemic will be under control and we can again sponsor 25 families.
We would like to thank Sobeys for their donations and help. We would also like to provide special thanks to Father J.B. Nguyen, Theresa Hill and Chiaka Enaboifo for all their assistance throughout the process. This support, along with the generosity of the parishioners, were critical to having another successful year.
It has been a very enjoyable, gratifying and rewarding experience! We look forward to doing it again next year!
Shelley, Geoff, and Katie Besko