Penticton families receive Christmas cheer with hampers

Seven-month-old Braxton Noel’s first Christmas will be a happy one after all.

Braxton Noel reaches out for the stuffed Santa while he and mom Kaylee wait for their ride after picking up a holiday hamper at the annual Salvation Army Christmas sharing event at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre

Braxton Noel reaches out for the stuffed Santa while he and mom Kaylee wait for their ride after picking up a holiday hamper at the annual Salvation Army Christmas sharing event at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre

Seven-month-old Braxton Noel’s first Christmas will be a happy one after all.

Once again thanks to the Salvation Army and the hundreds of volunteers and other community supporters of the organization’s annual Christmas hamper program there will be food on the table and a gift under the family tree.

“My husband just got laid off, so otherwise we wouldn’t be able to have Christmas right now,” said Braxton’s mom Kaylee Thursday morning after picking up her hamper at the Penticton Trade and Convention. “I get to celebrate my son’s first Christmas the way I want to.”

Along with a turkey and all the trimmings, the gift baskets going to families with children also included a special gift or two and other necessities.

Bruce Wind, who is currently on a disability pension, was another of the more than 700 people who received the hampers.

“It does a lot for the community and people that don’t have a lot of extra cash, especially around Christmas time,” Wind said. “It helps just to be able to survive. On disability you don’t make a lot of money and welfare is even worse.

“These guys do a wonderful job every year and it’s appreciated.”

For much of the morning the line of people extended outside the doors at the west side of the centre as people patiently waited their turn.

Inside there were plenty of smiles as one by one they collected, what to many, was probably the nicest gift they will receive this Christmas.

In addition to the volunteers doing the actual distribution, there was an army of people behind the scenes who were packing the hampers. At each station of the assembly line in the back hall, items were added to the boxes for those who had registered for the program earlier. In addition to those volunteers were the many people who donated their time and vehicles to help those who did not have transportation home with their packages.

According to Joey Cyr, supervisor for community and family Services at the Salvation Army, said the number of hampers was down slightly from past programs.

“I don’t think those numbers really make a difference because I think there is still a growing need out there, we’re seeing 5,000 people a month coming through our doors,” said Cyr. “Again, as always we’re seeing more seniors and that population here and costs just keep going up and this year we have over 300 toys for kids.”

He added it is actually very important for children to receive the toys.

“It really makes Christmas for them, especially when all their friends are all getting toys,” Cyr said. “It also brings a lot of Christmas cheer to the kids who might otherwise not get anything.

“I know that our volunteers down at Toy Town try to just do the very best they can to make it special for every child and thanks to things like the Be an Angel program, Wal Mart and Canadian Tire and others we are able to make that happen.”

Donations of food and cash are doing well and the kettle program has actually been picking up lately which, he hopes will continue.

The contributions made to the Salvation Army at this time of year often extend well into the spring months. He also had special praise for all of the people who give their time to help others through the organization.

“We really appreciate the response and generosity of our community. It’s so great to live in such a giving community,” said Cyr.

Because of these people it will be a joyous Noel for many families, especially Braxton’s.

-With files from Dale Boyd

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read