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50th Christmas hamper campaign faces record demand

It’s the best of times and it’s the worst of times, all in one. The St.
The St. Albert Kinettes’ annual hamper has begun. Big red boxes are placed around the city including St. Albert Centre
The St. Albert Kinettes’ annual hamper has begun. Big red boxes are placed around the city including St. Albert Centre

It’s the best of times and it’s the worst of times, all in one.

The St. Albert Kinettes are celebrating a momentous achievement in hosting the group’s 50th anniversary Christmas Hamper Campaign this year, along with the 15th anniversary of the Fill-a-Bus campaign.

However, the service club is facing a higher demand for hampers. It also has been unable to find a large storage space.

“It’s 50 years of helping St. Albert residents. It’s so great that we can do this but it’s sad to know that there are people that need our help,” expressed Kinette representative Jennifer Warford. “I’m just glad that we are able to help them. We are really hoping that we can get more donations.”

The service club is estimating that between 300 and 400 families will be in need of Christmas hampers this year. That’s an anticipated increase from the approximately 280 hampers that were handed out in 2015. Considering the spike in demand that the St. Albert Food Bank has seen in recent months, the Kinettes expect they may get a 50 per cent jump in demand too.

The intrepid Kinettes are not only striving to meet that demand but do one better by offering more than they usually do.

“What we hope to do is to get at least a month’s worth of food for the Christmas hampers, not just a couple of days. We try to do a lot more … we want as much food as we can give out to them.”

The campaign is set to launch next Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Albert Centre. There will also be a campaign fundraiser starting at 5 p.m. that evening at The Beer Hunter Pub on St. Albert Trail. Tickets are $10, which not only permits entry but also gets the guest entered into a draw for a dollhouse packed with 50 bottles of wine. There will also be a silent auction and the group is still hoping for donated items.

On Friday, Nov. 25, the group will have a presence during the Snowflake Festival in the downtown Perron District. A St. Albert Transit bus will be stationed there with volunteers from Diversified Transportation to receive donations of toys and non-perishable food items. Cash donations will be accepted as well.

The Kinettes will then occupy the old Drayden Insurance space on Perron Street right after the festival. They estimate they will need 12,000 to 18,000 sq. ft. of floor space to accommodate all of the donations and still afford ample room for the hamper boxes to be compiled. They haven’t yet acquired that space so they expect that things might get a bit crowded in there.

The 15th annual Fill-a-Bus event is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10 with buses located at Canadian Tire, both Safeway locations, Costco, Superstore, and Sobeys. There will be carollers at the Canadian Tire location to celebrate the occasion.

“Every little bit that you can give is helpful. You may think that just that one toy or can of food won’t do enough but it will. Everything adds up. If you can, please help.”

The hamper campaign runs until Dec. 21 with the hampers set to be delivered before Christmas.

People who get parking tickets can also help the cause. Between Nov. 14 and 30, drivers who receive parking tickets can pay off their fines through the Toys for Tickets program. Each toy must be suitable for a recipient up to 16 years of age, must be in its original packaging, and must be valued at equal or greater than $25. The receipt must also be presented. Toys will then be donated to the Fill-A-Bus campaign.

For more information or to contact the organization in regards to volunteering or becoming a recipient of a hamper, people can email [email protected] or search for ‘St Albert Kinette’ on Facebook.

Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.
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