Wha-hoo! 2015 Hamper Party success

Remember how a week before party day we were in a panic because we had only managed to raise about $1600 dollars? Well…

The Elves and I are thrilled to report that this year we managed to blast past last year’s party to create—drum roll, please—142 hampers! Three Salvation Army cube vans couldn’t hold all the food and we had to commandeer an Elf’s car for the overflow. On top of that, we gave the Salvation Army four extra cases of fresh produce and $250, and had extra treats to add to the hamper we gave the Canadian College of Performing Arts’ student food bank.

This was our 15th anniversary. Since that first party celebrated 30 hampers in 2001, we’ve donated a total of 1,383 hampers, plus hundreds of dollars and thousands of pounds of additional food, to the Salvation Army to feed those who otherwise would have faced a bleak, hungry holiday season.

Twice party-goers have quietly pulled Joyce aside to tell her that they had received one of our hampers in the past. They were at the party to pay it forward for others and when they saw the distinctive tags showing the weight of the turkeys, they realized the hamper they’d once received had been one of ours.

Of course, the selfish reason we keep on partying is that working together is such fun! We can thank Joe Hatherill and the Monterey Jazz Band for starting off the festive mood and, above all, the talented students and staff of our host, the Canadian College of Performing Arts who entertained and worked beside us to make this epic event possible. Directors Ron Schuster and Darold Roles, thank you for taking us under your wing three years ago!

And what would we do without the advance efforts and heavy lifting (literally) of the Organizing Committee Elves? They are: Laura MacDonald (saintly Banker Elf and shopper extraordinaire), James VanDam (directing the action each year out front as Warehouse Elf), Dan Doherty (media guru and red-shirted Bagging Elf), Val Sharp (charming Greeter Elf and valued organizer), Josh MacDonald (our inspiring bagpiper and Recycling Elf), Lisa Paquin (Quality Control Elf and pea soup chef) and Aaron Hall (Head Runner Elf).

Record cash donations helped put us over the top, but our tradition is to not reveal individual donor amounts since we know all our donors are giving what they can.

We’re especially thankful for the businesses that gave so generously and really put themselves out to help us get turkeys last minute at rock bottom prices:

Thrifty’s Tuscany Village, Thrifty’s Cloverdale & Quadra, Wholesale Club, Level Ground Coffee, Staff at Zambri’s restaurant, Portofino Breads, Farideh Dance Arts, Paris Roka Chocolates, Morning Fresh Eggs, Coca Cola, Cobbs Oak Bay, Hidden Places Adventure Tours, April Robins Garden Design, Baan Thai Restaurants, Coventry Carollers, Law Office of Sarah L. Klinger

We’ll close with an email Joyce read on party day. It was from a single mother putting her life together again after addiction and was forwarded to Joyce in 2007 via the social worker who gave her one of our hampers.

“Last Christmas I received a hamper. It was a complete Christmas dinner as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. As I was just barely getting on my feet at this time it was quite an amazing gift. The fact that someone went to the trouble to put this together for me enabled me to have all my children together for our first Christmas together in two years. I would like to thank you now for the thought and planning that went into this last year. My fridge was full and it was a lovely feeling to know that we were safe, warm well fed and together.”

Thank you all for making this year’s party such a smashing success. Happy Holidays and a joyous New Year to you all!

See you next December,

Joyce and Head Elves Laura, James, Lisa, Dan, Val, Josh & Aaron