Volunteers at the Kimberley Food Bank. Photo submitted

Volunteers at the Kimberley Food Bank. Photo submitted

Food Bank had a successful Christmas Hamper program

After giving out gift cards for a few years, staff and volunteers happy to return to food hampers

It has been quite a year for the Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank, not just maintaining normal operations, and bringing back the Christmas Hamper program after COVID, but also renovating and moving into a new facility.

A grand opening to allow the community to have a look at the new facility on Knighton Road will be announced in the coming days.

As for the hamper program, during the height of the pandemic, food gift cards were given out instead of the traditional food hampers.

“It was decided last fall to return to the way it’s always been done. We were excited about that prospect. It’s a lot more work than handing out cards to our users but it’s good work,” said the food bank’s manager Thom Tarte.

At the time, the new food bank on Knighton Rd was still a bit of a work in progress, but it was decided it was ready enough to host the handing out of Christmas Hampers.

“ It was a great way to give the facility a test run,” said Tarte.

The location was different, but the way it all came together was the way it has always been — with giving, compassion, and care, Tarte says.

The food bank distributed the hampers over four days just before Christmas, and while the bank’s regular volunteers committed many hours to make it all successfully come together, many volunteers new to the food bank pitched in as well.

There were small gifts and toques for children and new books were offered to adults and children thanks to the support from Friends of the Kimberley Public Library and Kimberley CBAL. With a generous donation from Mark Creek Lions, the food bank was able to provide gift cards to preschool children.

While the Food Bank was busy organizing hampers, there was support from many businesses, organizations and others who held food drives, raffles, events, and provided donations to make sure families had a very happy Christmas.

“It was especially gratifying to see school children presenting donations from the fundraisers they had worked on,” said Tarte. “The bountiful hampers that are given out at Christmas, and all year long would not be possible without the community’s generosity. Certainly ongoing donations from the general public make a substantial difference.”

Caring volunteers played a large role in this special hamper effort, but it also came together with the acts of Christmas giving and cooperation between the Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank and other local organizations that included: Mark Creek Lions’ Club, Healthy Kimberley Food Recovery, Kimberley CBAL, the Friends of the Kimberley Public Library, the schools of SD6, Seniors Helping Seniors, Community Connections, Kimberley Rotary, and others. All did their part to ensure food and gifts were available to those in need for the 2022 holiday season.

“It truly was the spirit of Kimberley Christmas.”

Donations are always welcome at the Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank at 255 Knighton Road, or donate online through canadahelps.org.