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 https://christmashamperparty.wordpress.com 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. https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=christmas%20hamper%20party%20-%20victoria%20bc&epa=SEARCH_BOX.
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