Volunteers loaded 600 Christmas hampers last year at the old St. Joseph Hospital site. File photo

Volunteers loaded 600 Christmas hampers last year at the old St. Joseph Hospital site. File photo

Comox Valley Christmas hamper program needs a space

The Sharing the Christmas Spirit Hamper Program is in full swing — its 31st year in the Comox Valley — but it needs a space to organize and roll out the totes.

“We’re very much alive and well this year,” said Rob Phillips, who co-ordinates the program along with Annette Bowden.

Despite COVID, school districts 71 and 93 are large contributors to family sponsorships. Last year, students accounted for about half (220) of the family hampers. So far, they’re at about 135.

“A bigger concern right now is that we still don’t have a staging area,” Phillips said. “We have a total of 1,300 snap-lid totes, so when those are full, they’re going to occupy some space.”

Phillips and volunteers will pick up totes at schools from Dec. 16-18

The program needs a minimum of 3,000 square feet, preferably 4,000-5,000. Phillips and Bowden were to appeal to Courtenay council Nov. 9.

Normally space is donated, but he said they are willing to pay a nominal rent, and hydro/utility costs.

“We have a cadre of volunteers who’ve been doing it since day one, some of them since ’89. A lot of them are ex- or current military.”

Ken and Fay Jones still co-ordinate the volunteers.

“We wouldn’t be having the same program without those two. They live it all year long,” Phillips said. “It runs like a well-oiled machine. Same hardcore group is there every year…It’s a great testimonial to our community. Our conservative estimate is that it’s about $100,000-plus every year that the community puts into this program.”

The program offers family and single hampers. The latter is one or two adults with no children. The estimated cost to fill each hamper is $50 per person.

Last year, 600 families in need received hampers. This year’s goal is 450.

Volunteer drivers will deliver the hampers on Dec. 22.

The program needs families to register for a hamper, as well as sponsors for families and donations.

The Sharing the Christmas Spirit Hamper Program program hotline is 250-334-4913.

Raffle tickets are on sale at Royal LePage, 121-750 Comox Rd. The draw date is Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. Call 250-334-4913. First prize is a weekend package to a resort in Tofino.

FMI: christmashamper.ca or email sharingthechristmaspirit1988@gmail.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Union Bay voters chose a new direction Saturday. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Union Bay voters opt for governance change

More than seventy per cent support dissolving UBID to roll services into regional district

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

Rogan is a three-year-old border collie who has an 'incredible bond' between him and a family member. Photo by Erin Haluschak
‘Incredible bond’ credited for dog who assisted in emergency

Three-year-old dog Rogan came to the rescue of a family member who fell

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement forecasting windy weather Sunday and Monday. (News Bulletin file photo)
More windy weather on the way for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issues special weather statement for Victoria, east coast of Island, north Island

A map of Comox Valley schools. Screenshot, Fraser Institute
Comox Valley schools near mid-pack in Fraser Institute rankings

A few schools went up or down a few points, but most came in with similar marks

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

The Blackberry Lane Children’s Centre outgrown its space in the back of the Denman Island Community Hall. Photo supplied
Denman Island to have new preschool with metal roof

Thanks to a local government grant and community support, the Denman Island… Continue reading

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Most Read