Community Papers

Christmas hamper drive continues

Ambria Jade Yerrell, seen here at nine months old, sleeps among the hubbub at Joyce Kline and Peter Such’s Christmas hamper-making party last December. Baby Ambria came to the party with her mother Carmen Harlson and grandmother Tracy Yerrell. - Gary McKinstry photo
Ambria Jade Yerrell, seen here at nine months old, sleeps among the hubbub at Joyce Kline and Peter Such’s Christmas hamper-making party last December. Baby Ambria came to the party with her mother Carmen Harlson and grandmother Tracy Yerrell.
— image credit: Gary McKinstry photo

Joyce Kline is continuing a tradition this weekend, one that last year brought 158 turkeys to her doorstep.

Kline is the coordinator of a Christmas hamper party, which she has hosted for 11 years. Due to its growing popularity, she’s moved the operation from her home to the Victoria College of Art campus, where on Sunday a massive crew of volunteers, all armed with hamper contributions, will assemble the packages.

“These are not hampers of Kraft dinners and canned beans,” Kline said. “It’s lovely fresh food, so people can invite guests in the privacy of their own home and have their dignity.”

Last year, the group produced 158 hampers, 21 of those for gluten-free households. Each package includes: a frozen turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, milk, eggs, butter, coffee, tea, fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, dessert and an extra goodie or two.

“Some people will be bagging the larger bulk stuff, while the kids are counting carrots and other people are hauling hampers. … It’s pretty awesome.”

Kline, who began coordinating the hamper party in Ontario in 1995, would like to see the tradition spin off in other neighbourhoods.

If anyone would like to make a last-minute donation, or to give at the event this weekend, contact Kline at klinesuch@shaw.ca.

“The thinking behind it originally (was) if you were going to a potluck, you bring something,” Kline said. “Everyone who wants to bring a contribution is welcome (to volunteer). It makes everybody equal.”

Extra contributions not wrapped in hampers go to the Salvation Army, which distributes the food.

While volunteers organize and wrap hampers from noon until 6 p.m., local bands Oya and Dream-A-Little will supply the entertainment.

Victoria College of Art is located at 1625 Bank St.

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