The Knights of Columbus Christmas Hamper and Santa’s Elves program is underway for 2017; bringing food and toys to families in Bonnyville. Knights of Columbus member and chairperson of the Christmas Hamper campaign, Gene Sobolewski says over 250 families received hampers last year, thanks to generous public donations.
The hampers are food boxes made up by Brosseau’s Department Store and Sobey’s, full of items for the a typical holiday-style meal, explains Sobolewski, “they contain a turkey, ham, potatoes, vegetables and bread. Basically, a massive Christmas dinner.” Each family will receive non-perishable food bank style food. Sobolewski explains that donations for these types of foods are taken in by the Knights of Columbus; separate from the food bank. “The last couple years, these donations have been a little light; because people tend to donate to the food bank.” The goal is to give people more than just a Christmas dinner, “we try to do a food drive or two. The groceries that we collect also go with the hampers.”
The Knights of Columbus are looking for any businesses or organizations interested in hosting food drives in the community to help increase donations this year, “the grocery side has been light in the last couple years, we would like to increase that.” In years past, the bowling alley would collect donations; but since it closed a few years ago, no other business has stepped in to take over collecting donations. Groups can also organize food drives at local groceries stores, with the donations going to Knights of Columbus.
Although Knights of Columbus holds a separate food drive, from the food bank, for this program, all their proceeds (after the program is complete each year) go to the food bank. If any schools, organizations, business or individuals are interested in starting a collection or making a cash, or grocery gift card donation, contact Gene Sobolewski at 780-573-1884.
The other component to the program is the Santa’s Elves gifts. Knights of Columbus coordinates and distributes toy donations in Bonnyville; with the help of the Bonnyville Centralized High School (BCHS) students and staff, the program has been very successful in bring Christmas cheer to Bonnyville families.
If you have a new, unwrapped toy you would like to donate, you can drop it off at BCHS. The school collects the items and then one magical night, December 14th, they hold a wrapping party to get all the gifts ready for Santa to deliver.
Request a Hamper or Gift Bag
If you’re family is in need this holiday season, stop in at Alberta Works or the Friendship Centre in Bonnyville or contact Gene Sobolewski at 780-573-1884. There is an application process. Eligible applicants must reside in the Town of Bonnyville or the MD of Bonnyville, west of Crane Lake and Beaverdam area. East of that area, residents are asked to go to Cold Lake charities.