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

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

Just Posted

Tenore trio want to celebrate a Christmas with You

The tenor group performs at Penticton’s Church of the Nazarene tonight at 6 p.m.

Help the RCMP cram the kennel today at Cherry Lane

RCMP officers and volunteers will be filling kennels with donated food and pet supplies.

Summerland college operated from 1906 to 1915

Ritchie Hall and Morton Hall were constructed for Okanagan Baptist College

South Okanagan volunteer dental clinic donates rotten teeth to good cause

H.E.C.K. recently gifted 47 rotten teeth to a search and rescue group in the area

Construction to start on Penticton’s Kettle Valley Rail Bridge

Depending on the weather, a crew will be replacing the bridge’s deck starting Dec. 10

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

West Kelowna house fire demonstrates danger posed by candles

West Kelowna Fire Rescue says an unattended candle caused the Sunday afternoon fire.

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

Slippery sections reported on Okanagan and Shuswap highways

Some sections of the Trans-Canada highway have black ice on them.

Most Read