Hamper making Christmas memorable

Society provides presents for disadvantaged families.

Zoë Cross and her daughters Phoebe and Molly

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society is off and running again, working to create a memorable Christmas for financially disadvantaged families in the community.

Every year the society collects new, unwrapped toys for children, items for teens, adult-oriented gifts for parents and caregivers, gift wrapping and cash and cheques to pay for Christmas food vouchers and more toys.

The goal of the Christmas Hamper Society is to provide a sack full of toys, with a value of at least $75 each, for every child up to 18-years-old, and a full traditional Christmas dinner for the whole family.

Families are also treated to two days of free shopping at the hamper’s Rudolph’s Recycle Shoppe and a free shopping spree for the children to choose a gift for their parents and caregivers in the Kids’ Only Gift Shoppe.

Last year, the Christmas Hamper Society registered and assisted 625 families in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows and is expecting the same demand or even more this year.

The society does not do any door-to-door or telephone soliciting and operates strictly through the generosity of volunteers.

Donations can be dropped off at the Christmas Hamper Society office, located on the Albion Fairgrounds, across from Planet Ice. The office will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday to Friday in November, and starting Dec. 1, it will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. until Dec. 17.

Toy drop-off boxes will also be located in Haney Place Mall and ValleyFair Mall.

At the Christmas festival on Dec. 3 in Memorial Peace Park, toys and cash will be collected at the society’s big red tent that will easily be identified by a sideways Santa hat logo.

Cash and cheques can also be dropped off at the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News office at 22328 – 119th Ave..

If you would like to sponsor a family for Christmas, go to www.mrpmchristmashamper.org and click on the Good Neighbour Program, where you will be able to get information, as well as an application form.

Families wanting to qualify for a Christmas hamper can register at the Christmas Society office on Nov. 13, 20 and 30 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Also register on Thursday, Nov. 17, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., at either the Royal Canadian Legion on 224th Street at Brown Avenue, or Ridge Meadows Community Services, at 22359 119th Ave.

In Pitt Meadows, registration will be at Pitt Meadows Lions Hall on Harris Road on Wednesday, Nov. 30, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

To qualify, you will need to bring the last stub or print out of a monthly financial assistance or disability cheque, CareCards for members of the whole family, proof of residency, photo ID for yourself and proof of age for any children over 16-years-old.

If your family is low-income, you will need to bring any proof of lack of income such as wage receipts, rent, phone, hydro, car payments or any other bills, in addition to CareCards, proof of residency, photo ID and proof of age.

For additional information you can call 604-463-6922 or email lorraine@mrpmchristmashamper.org.

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