The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society is having one of its busiest Christmases in recent years, but donations are coming in to make sure local families have a merry Christmas.
Chair Tina Kirkpatrick, who has worked for the society for 22 years, said there have been 303 families register with the hamper so far, and a total of 673 children.
“It’ll be our busiest year since 2018,” said Kirkpatrick, noting the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) likely helped families in need through the pandemic shutdown years.
In 2018 there were 380 families registered, but only 627 children, noted Kirkpatrick.
Each family can shop for brand new toys in the “toy barn” at Albion Fair Grounds, and each child up to 18 will receive a gift hamper worth $125.
The family will also get a gift card to buy Christmas dinner, worth between $75 and $115.
The cost is estimated at $105,000 already, and Kirkpatrick is expecting approximately 30 more families will register before Christmas.
The deadline to register on the website mrpmchristmashamper.org is Wednesday, Dec. 14. However, out of the 235 families who registered last year, 32 came in after the deadline, and were not turned away.
The Hamper Society saw a need for more gift cards for teens, and volunteer Chelsa Meadus solicited a donation on their behalf from Epic Homes. President Cole Lambert offered $3,000, and came to offer a cheque and tour the toy barn.
Epic has built about 1,000 homes in the community over the past decade, he said, and is known for Fern Grove in the Silver Valley neighbourhood, and is currently building the Kanaka Springs Community. Lambert said they have a program called Epic Cares that donates up to $3,000 monthly to local causes, and in December it will be given to teen Christmas gifts through the hamper society.
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