Major Tim Leslie of the Salvation Army with food hamper volunteers Dora Bystrom (left) and Dolly Kruger Friday at the church hall.                                Mark Brett/Western News

Major Tim Leslie of the Salvation Army with food hamper volunteers Dora Bystrom (left) and Dolly Kruger Friday at the church hall. Mark Brett/Western News

Christmas hamper volunteers pitch in to give back to Penticton

Volunteers begin work in preparation for Salvation Army hamper distribution

For the past two days inside the crowded Salvation Army Church hall volunteers have been busy preparing for next week’s Christmas hamper distribution.

Among the 30 people packing boxes with needed foodstuffs Friday was first-time volunteer Dolly Kruger, someone who knows only too well how much those hampers mean at this time of year.

“I’ve had to use food services in the past myself and I know a lot of people who have had to at this time of year apply for Christmas hampers and also apply to the food bank in general and it definitely did make a difference,” said Kruger during a break from filling the shopping carts from the mountains of produce and canned goods available. “It definitely did make a difference (for me) and for me it’s a good way to give back to the community and to know that I’m helping community members who are in need this time of year.”

In previous years the packing and distribution of the hampers took place at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre but that changed this year after the Salvation Army did not apply for the grant it had received in other years.

Related:Christmas Hamper distribution changes location

Don Oakes was another first timer at the church who decided to get involved at the suggestion of a friend when he was dropping some goods off at the food bank one day.

“There’s a lot of wonderful people of all demographics and all ages coming out and volunteers and the volunteers are a cross section of society,” said Oakes. “We’re here to help those who perhaps might need some assistance.”

Just over half of the more than 700 hampers this year will go out Monday. About 200 will go to special needs groups such as the South Okanagan Similkameen Brain Injury Society in the morning and in the afternoon another 200 will go to the singles who registered earlier.

According to Major Tim Leslie of the Salvation Army, singles make up the largest number of hamper recipient, roughly about a third.

“About half the singles are seniors,” said Leslie. “You may think it’s lots of people on social assistance but there are a lot of working people in Penticton who are just not making enough to make ends meet.

“Food bank is really for emergencies but some people are just in an emergency all the time because the bulk of their money is going to pay the rent and they have no money for groceries. They just can’t afford to eat.”

Related: The bells are ringing in Penticton

He had nothing but praise for the estimated 200 volunteers who will give of their time this season to help those in need.

“Penticton is a wonderful community and people really want to help,” said Leslie. “Christmas time is a great for us. People seem to come out of the woodwork wanting to help with the kettles and all the things we do at Christmas.

He estimated it takes about $550,000 annually to fund the various programs.

Packing and distribution will continue next week and will include hampers going out to small families Tuesday and the final day, Wednesday, larger families will receive theirs.

Like last year, instead of being included in the hampers items like turkey and ham have been replaced by gift certificates to better facilitate the needs of recipients.

 

Dolly Kruger (front) and Dora Bystrom go through the aisles to fill boxes with food items at the Salvation Army Church Frinday.                                Mark Brett/Western News

Dolly Kruger (front) and Dora Bystrom go through the aisles to fill boxes with food items at the Salvation Army Church Frinday. Mark Brett/Western News

First-time volunteer Don Oakes packs one of the hampers which will be distributed starting Monday.                                 Mark Brett/Western News

First-time volunteer Don Oakes packs one of the hampers which will be distributed starting Monday. Mark Brett/Western News

Just Posted

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
Five-storey building proposed for Penticton’s Front Street

It will be the second time the proposal will head to council

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from St. Eugene’s residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

18-year-old skier Logan Leach follows his guide, Julien Petit, down an alpine track. The Lumby athlete who is visually impaired has been named to Alpine Canada’s Ski Team ahead of the 2022 Paralympic Games in Beijing. (Contributed)
North Okanagan teen named to national Para-Alpine ski team

18-year-old Logan Leach officially joins Canada’s Para-Alpine roster ahead of Beijing 2022

Carina Stokes, bar manager at Enderby’s Small Axe Bistro, was recognized as one of four exceptional B.C. restaurant workers by the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Contributed)
Okanagan bar manager recognized as ‘stand-up’ B.C. restaurant worker

Small Axe Roadhouse’s Carina Stokes one of four to receive special recognition from the BCRFA

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Most Read