A small fraction of the people behind the Christmas Hamper Program. From left to right, Larry Olsson, Patti Larson, Kathleen Hammond and Gladys Dyer (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

More than 400 Revelstokians served yearly through Christmas Hamper Program

Roughly 180 hampers to be distributed this Christmas

Each year, Community Connections makes more than 180 Christmas hampers to help low income families and seniors during the holidays.

In the past year alone, the program has helped more than 400 Revelstokians.

“This program is so people are included at Christmas time and not forgotten,” said Patti Larson, director of community outreach for Community Connections. She has worked with the Christmas Hamper Program for more than 20 years.

According to the B.C. government, average family income in Revelstoke is 13 per cent below the provincial average of roughly $91,000.

Multiple businesses donate to the Christmas Hamper Program each year from cash, canned tuna and cereal to shampoo, soup and soap.

Last year, the program handed out more than 180 hampers. Larson said it will probably be similar this year. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

For example, the Red Apple store in Revelstoke has held a toy drive for the program for the past six years. It’s three week toy drive wrapped up earlier this month and raised more than $10,000 in toys and other products for the Christmas hampers.

Trevor English, the store’s manager, said out of all 140 stores across Canada, the one in Revelstoke raised the most.

Many individual Revelstokians also donate to the program.

READ MORE: Revelstoke Christmas hamper program growing every year

READ MORE: A day in the life of the food bank’s Christmas hamper program

As I interview Larson in the basement of the Legion, where the hampers are packed and distributed, a lady hands her a couple hundred dollars.

“Others need this more than I do,” she said to Larson.

“You’ll know where it’s needed most.”

The lady’s generosity is one of many in Revelstoke.

Larson said the program has more than 15 volunteers helping this Christmas season.

Gladys Dyer, one of the longest serving and oldest volunteer at 75-years-old, said she volunteers each year because she likes watching kids excitement and joy at getting a new toy.

“Their eyes get really big.”

Kathleen Hammond, also a volunteer, said volunteering is “good for the soul.”

Another, Larry Olsson said the work is “comforting, especially when someone smiles.”

Each hamper is packed according to the gender, age and type of client its serving. Larson said

“They can use the hamper however they chose,” said Larson.

Some even include a turkey or a voucher for one.

The program is still looking for donations, such as canned goods, non-perishables and hygiene products. Items can be dropped off in the basement of the Legion at 600 1st St. W from Mon. to Sat., 10 a.m to 3 p.m.

The Christmas hampers will be dispersed until Dec. 23.



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