2019 final hamper count…a record breaking 175 hampers!
That’s right, Hamper Party supporters—in spite of setbacks we broke last year’s record! Here’s how we did it…
After our original turkey distributor left us turkey-less only a week before the party, Elf James sprang into action and with the help of B & C Food Distributors we were able to order 150 turkeys at $1.90 lb. This was below retail cost but double what we’d paid last year. Then—surprise!—when we opened the cases we found that the turkeys were 18-20 lb. monsters twice the size we’d ordered. We weren’t charged for the extra weight, saving a couple thousand dollars, and we know the families receiving our hampers will be thrilled to have so many extra meals.
There were both new and familiar faces at this year’s party. After seeing us in action last year, violinist Marjorie Cullerne volunteered to accompany our long-time pianist Michael Heaney. Together they played away at the front of the church while at the opposite end Rhona McAdam once again served up coffee, hot chocolate and cookies.
Also up front, Di Madill’s clever décor team churned out fresh cedar decorations to top all 175 hampers. We know the respectful little touches we include in each hamper are appreciated because one of the Salvation Army’s workers told Joyce that last year, on receiving one of our beautiful hampers, a recipient got tears in her eyes because “this is the only decoration I have this year.”
We started the day by divvying up bulk items, discarding anything bruised or damaged. Soon every pew in the church was laden with goodies and the air was filled with music, the smell of oranges, fresh ground coffee and camaraderie.
Finally, it was time to fill those hampers! Teams of three moved down the centre aisle with their hamper: one to carry, one to collect (heaviest items at the bottom) and one to cross each item off the hamper’s checklist.
Next, the hampers were topped with decorations, slipped into clear plastic leaf bags and placed outside to stay cold.
As always, when the Salvation Army trucks arrived we loaded up the sea of hampers to the stirring skirl of Josh MacDonald’s bagpipes. We were also able to donate cartons of additional bread, fruit, and goodies, plus two boxes of pet treats for the Army’s pet food bank. Eleven of our hampers went to the Songhees Wellness Centre—the only payment St. Mary’s asked for once again being our perfect venue. (Thank you, St. Mary’s Incumbent Craig Heibert!) The remaining 164 hampers went to a grateful Salvation Army for distribution.
Thanks to Norm Francoeur who picked up thousands of pounds of food on party day and to HandyDART for letting us use their van. And for the eco-curious, at the end of the day Elf Paul hauled away an entire commercial bin of cardboard for recycling.
It is our policy not to single our individual donors, but we really must thank the generosity of our many business donors. Without them, especially Coast Capital Savings Cadboro Bay who donated $1500 again this year, we simply couldn’t feed so many people. We hope you will support these businesses as they have supported us.
- Coast Capital Savings Cadboro Bay
- B & C Food Distributors
- Sofina Foods
- Portofino Bread
- Island Eggs
- Cassels Murray Family and Estate Law
- The Market Garden
- Root Cellar
- Canadian Tire
- SaveOn Foods Pandora
- Level Ground Trading
- Black Bear Coffee
- Bean Around the World
- Fernwood Coffee
- SaveOn Foods Westside Village
- Yoka’s Coffee
- Pet Planet
- Fernwood Dental
- Broad Theatrics
Finally, if you are thinking of buying or selling a property this year, realtor Morgan Baker is offering a “$500 donation to the Hamper Party when a commission is earned by Morgan Baker Realtor from either a selling or buying trading service for a “Hamper Party” client.”
Now rest up, lovely, generous friends. Enjoy the blessings of the season knowing you’ve given hope and sustenance to so many.
Elves Joyce, Laura, James, Lisa, Dan, Val and Paul