The final count?… A staggering 169 hampers!

Parties we’ve inspired in Mississauga and Saanich also broke their records.  Mississauga did 65 hampers and the Peninsula Party in Saanich an impressive 79.   We’ve started a movement!

Here’s how party day unfolded…

Up at the front, our dear pianist Michael Heaney played carols and show tunes as he’s done for the last three years.

Nearby, Di Madill’s décor team, armed with sharp scissors and glue guns, wrestled cedar boughs, ribbon and decorations into lavish toppers for each finished hamper.

At the opposite end of the church, Elf Rhona McAdam presided over refreshments as she has since almost our first party.

In the middle, party pros and newcomers alike were hard at work, happy to be doing something concrete to turn the holidays around for those in need.  First job was to divide the bulk produce, coffee, teabags and treats into hamper sized parcels.  The atmosphere was festive with chatter, Michael’s piano and the smell of cedar, oranges and the Level Ground coffee volunteers were packaging.

Our impressive stats!

Once all the food was inspected and packaged it was time to pause for cookies, hot chocolate and a party report.  Coast Capital Savings presented us with a cheque for $600 and then later surprised us with a totally unexpected second cheque for $1500!

Joyce then shared a bit of Hamper Party history and read out Banker Elf Laura’s Hamper Party Stats.  I’ve updated them to include this year’s party:





  • 1874 hampers donated
  • At 4 meals per turkey (and many turkeys feed more than that) that’s 7,496 dinners and breakfasts.
  • At $55 per hamper (our cost—way below what you’d pay if you tried to buy the food individually at a grocery store) that’s $103, 070 worth of food.

And that doesn’t even include the cash donations and hundreds of pounds of extra food we’ve given the Salvation Army over the years.

Then it was time to pack those hampers!

As teams of two carried a hamper down the aisle, workers stationed at each pew passed them food items that were then checked off that hamper’s checklist.






At the end of the aisle, quality control checkers made sure everything was properly packed (milk and butter next to frozen turkey, delicate items on top, everything on list included).  On went one of the Décor Team’s gorgeous fresh cedar decorations and the finished hamper was slipped into a clear plastic bag and hauled outside to stay cold.

In just three hours we divvied up, packaged, packed and decorated over 6000 pounds of food—and beautiful food, too: frozen turkeys and fresh fruit and veggies, Portofino bread and real butter, pies and treats and eggs for Christmas morning breakfast.  As is our tradition, when the Salvation Army arrived at 2pm we trooped outside to load the trucks to the stirring skirl of Josh MacDonald’s bagpipes.

Who received our hampers?

Ten of our hampers went to our gracious host Church of St. Mary the Virgin Oak Bay to distribute to parishioners in need. The remaining 159 hampers went to the Salvation Army along with boxes and boxes of extra veggies and goodies we just couldn’t fit into our already bulging hampers.

Check out our website or our Facebook page Christmas Hamper Party Victoria where we’ll be posting photographer Terry Stitt’s beautiful photos and a video of us loading up the Salvation Army’s big trucks to the skirl of Josh MacDonald’s bagpipes.

Who helped make it happen?

As always, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of our donors.  All our donors give to the best of their ability, so we do not credit individual donations no matter how large. We do, however, want to thank the generous businesses without whom we couldn’t possibly have fed so many families.  We hope you’ll support them in return.  Many thanks to:

  • Coast Capital Savings
  • Level Ground Trading
  • Real Canadian Superstore
  • Cassels Murray Law Office
  • Portofino Bakery
  • Power to Be
  • Morning Fresh Eggs on Blenkinsop
  • Bottle Depot
  • Coca Cola
  • Root Cellar
  • Canadian Tire
  • Esquimalt Country Grocer
  • Fernwood Dental

Finally, thank you to St. Mary’s Incumbent Craig Hiebert and to our unbelievably hard working and dedicated Head Elves Laura MacDonald (mission control), Paul MacDonald, James Van Dam, Lisa Pacquin and Dan Doherty.  The hours they spent planning, budgeting, bookkeeping, promoting, comparison shopping, hustling donations, and picking up and hauling thousands of pounds of food is what makes the magic happen for all of us.

Happy Holidays.  See you next year!
Joyce & Head Elves Laura, Paul, James, Lisa & Dan


2018 Hamper Party is Sat Dec 22

Save This Date. It’s Victoria’s 18th annual…Christmas Hamper party!

Date: Saturday, December 22, 2018     11AM-2PM

Location: St Mary’s Church, 1701 Elgin Rd, Victoria BC V8R 5L7

Dreaming of sugar plums? One of Victoria’s most satisfying holiday events is almost here!

Christmas Hamper Party, December 2011. Photo by Gary McKinstry

Photo by Gary McKinstry

New to the party? Returning elf?

Since 2001, our annual Christmas Hamper Party has lovingly created over 1700 fresh food hampers for the Salvation Army to donate to local families in need. Last year we filled 155 hamper to the brim with a frozen turkey, fresh fruit and veggies, holiday treats and all the fixings needed for a festive holiday feast. Our goal is to fill even more hampers!

Come join us for a fun time of holiday carols, generous community, light refreshments, and the true spirit of the season as we collectively pack our hampers with the beautiful food that our family, friends and supporters have collected. Let’s share our good fortune by feeding as many hungry families as we can! As is our tradition the bulging baskets will be ceremoniously loaded onto the Salvation Army trucks accompanied by live bagpipe music to fill your heart with the Christmas spirit.

Details about what and how to contribute to this year’s party.

There’s lots of info on this site to inspire you and show you what a great event a hamper party can be. Interested in hosting your own hamper event?

We look forward to seeing you at the party.

Joyce Kline and the Hamper Elves.

2017 Final Count was…155 Hampers

A smashing Success!

We filled a whopping 148 hampers last year, but this year–in a new venue and in record time–we filled 155!  In addition to our beautifully decorated hampers brimming with wholesome goodies, we were able to give the Salvation Army 11 bulging extra hampers of fresh fruit, veggies, stuffing mix and bread they can use in the hampers they make up.

2017 hamper party

Thanks to Our Venue Hosts

What would we have done if St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church hadn’t taken us under their wing and hosted us? Their beautiful chapel was the perfect venue: lots of room, lovely high ceilings, stained glass windows–and pews to hold those big cases of food so we didn’t have to stoop to the floor!

Thanks for the music of the season

Thank you, too, to Canadian College of Performing Arts’ Alumni Carollers for starting the party off with gorgeous carols, to Michael Heaney who played piano for us for hours, and to our bagpiper Josh MacDonald who has piped us out to load the Salvation Army’s trucks since he was a teenager.

Thanks to the Many Individual Contributors

It is the collective generosity of our stalwart individual cash and food donors that keep the party going, but our tradition is to not reveal individual donor amounts since we know all our donors are giving what they can.

Thanks to Our Generous Business Donors

We really must thank our business donors, however, because without their unbelievable support we could never have accomplished what we did this year. Please support these community minded businesses:

And to the Elves…

Finally, huge thanks to amazing Organizing Elves Laura MacDonald, Dan Doherty, James VanDam, Paul MacDonald, Lisa Paquin, Val Sharp, Di Madill, and Josh MacDonald.  Laura, in particular, did weeks of behind the scenes organizing. Even in Santa’s workshop, thousands of dollars and thousands of pounds of food doesn’t get planned, budgeted, comparison shopped, ordered, promoted, coordinated, picked up and delivered, and properly recorded for tax purposes without a lot of Elf hours.  They are an amazing team!

Together we fed the hungry and those who otherwise may have lost hope.  Isn’t that the essence of the holiday spirit?

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah & Happy New Year!
Joyce & Elves Laura, Dan, James, Paul, Lisa, Val, Josh, and Di


Saanich Peninsula party donates 60 hampers+! Here’s their 2017 party report:

Well we feel like the holiday has officially begun! Our garage is now empty (aside from a huge stack of empty produce boxes), but our heart are full, as are the Sidney Lion’s Food Bank, Salvation Army, and Tseycum First Nation’s trucks! 

The Salvation Army is preparing for a record year with over 3000 families expected to request hampers! The Sidney Lion’s Food Bank has received 458 requests for hampers, in addition to the 1100-1200 people they serve each month! 
Thanks to each and everyone of you, 60 families will be enjoying a hearty, healthy, and delicious meal this holiday. But almost just as important, these families will get the sense a your care and compassion through all of the special touches in this year’s hampers. From handmade cards by Lisa (and signed by all of you), to homemade cookies and beautiful swags. These thoughtful additions are what really makes the hampers more than a meal, but a special gift. And as Pat and his crew from the Salvation Army told us, these special touches really do get noticed. In fact, they hand deliver our hampers so as not to make anyone jealous 🙂
We are so thankful to be surrounded by such an incredible community. You are what makes this initiative such a success. We just love how everyone continues to come up with new ideas and opportunities. In addition to all of your personal support, we had a few businesses chip in:
– Thanks to David for approaching Save-On Esquimalt who donated five $25 gift cards  
– Amber secured an amazing deal on turkeys from Save-On in Sidney
– Michell’s farm donated a huge box of cabbage and carrots, thanks to Robert and Barb 
– Fickle Fig donated bread for the hampers and cookies for the helpers
– Woodwynn farms gave us a great deal on their eggs
And a HUGE thanks to Jason & Candace who not only set up the online form, but also did the HUGE shop (thanks to your donations of nearly $1800!), and repacked all of the bulk produce. Really I would love to thank you all individually, as this really doesn’t happen without you. And it was so great to see all of the kids involved this year!
Not only have you filled our hearts with gratitude, and helped us to pass on the importance of caring for our community to the next generation, but you have really reminded us of how fortunate we all are to have a happy and healthy family, a warm home to share with you all, and full bellies at the end of the day. 
We truly hope that your holiday is filled with the company of loved ones and special moments together, meals shared, and peace in your hearts. 
With love, 
Patrica, Aaron & Emma

What people are saying about the Victoria party…

  • What a wonderful party – and an amazing result. Both Lily and I had a grand time yesterday!We know how beneficial the gift of a hamper can be to so many people at this time of year. But your gift to the party-goers and hamper-makers is immense as well. You made it so easy, so gratifying, and so fun for all of us to act generously. Thankyou for that incalculable offering. Merry Christmas, Jean Macgregor

  • I am so pleased to have been a part of the Hamper Party although I was not there in person, I was in spirit.  What a wonderful thing to do for our fellow earth citizens.  It is the thing to do  . . .  to look after those who are not as fortunate as we and to let them know that some of us care. Many thanks for including us and Morning Fresh, Marnie Crowe and Lawrence Eastick
  • I am contacting you on behalf of Bernice Carter and the Victoria Chapter of the CCA to express our gratitude for your donation of gluten free products and gift certificates to our inaugural Gluten-Free Christmas Hamper initiative. hard-working volunteers created no less than 21 hampers containing your donations, apples, oranges, vegetables, milk, turkeys and more. I had the privilege of delivering the hamper pictured to a woman in need and received the heartwarming email of thanks below. The very best to you this season! Ellen Bayens
    • Thank you and your members for a very unexpected .. delightful surprise!  How very kind and generous of you and the members of the Victoria Chapter to think of me, especially when we’ve only met on two short occasions.  I’ve been very blessed.  With the bounty I received I shared it with my neighbour below me, as he has so little … when it comes to food.  He thanks you so much as well.  In fact he was as surprised as I was.  A loss for words … we both suffered from that last night.  That was a sweet a loving gesture – I thank you from the bottom of my heart. M E R R Y   C H R I S T M A S to all Santa’s Helpers . Best Wishes and Happy Holidays”

Host Your Own Hamper Party!

We are overwhelmed by the incredible response we’ve had since the Globe and Mail article came out on Friday. There are now hamper parties sprouting up all over the place for this Christmas: Grimsby, Ontario and Nanaimo, B.C. in Canada and San Diego and Placerville in California.  And all in the last two days!  We wish you all well and know you’ll come to love this festive holiday tradition as much as we do.

If you’re thinking of hosting your own party, we’ve just posted our Top 10 Tips on “How to host your own Hamper Party” here. Please make sure to let us know how your party goes and share your hosting tips or ideas.

Warm wishes to all you Happy Hamperers!