While Santa’s elves are busy getting ready to spread Christmas cheer, Saskatoon’s own set of helpers are doing the same.
Over 500 volunteers have worked in shifts over the week to prepare for the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre’s annual Christmas Hamper Day.
“Last year we saw just over 3,000 people and it’s been pretty steady this morning so far. So many volunteer hours go into a day like today, so we have a lot of happy folks,” said Laurie O’Connor, Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre executive director.
O’Connor said these hampers are made especially for single people in the community who are struggling to put food on the table — a special addition to what’s available year-round.
“We’re seeing around 20,000 people a month for a regular hamper. I would say the need is still quite great in this city and about 45 per cent of the requests are for children,” O’Connor said.
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There were also lots of children volunteering, learning the true spirit of Christmas to help young ones just like them.
The Saskatoon and District Kinette Club also donated winter clothes.
“What we did was start an initiative to fill the hampers, but a few years ago we noticed people didn’t have warm enough clothes,” said volunteer Candace Kimpton. “We started collecting those throughout the year and now they can actually get a pair of mitts.”
The people receiving the hampers, meanwhile, expressed their gratitude.
“I’m very blessed to get a hamper and to share it with the people I love. The volunteers have been working hard,” said recipient Carolyn Thode.
“I just want to say thanks to the volunteers for their hard work,” said Maxym Legkostup, another hamper recipient.
Even after Saturday’s holiday hamper campaign finished, fundraising isn’t done. They’re hoping to raise 500,000 pounds of food and $500,000 before Dec. 31.