As fully-packed blue reusable bags took over a hallway at Victoria’s GT Church on Dec. 15, volunteers of all ages were around the corner and hard at work, filling packages with produce, canned foods and festive goodies.
The 200 bags were destined for those in need as part of the church’s annual Christmas Hamper Outreach program. The hampers are shared with a Victoria elementary school, local First Nation recipients and other individuals and families struggling to put food on the table.
“We just feel like it’s something we’re called to do and to share with those who are struggling and in need, just to be able to brighten someone else’s day,” said Will Wild, GT Church’s outreach and community engagement director.
In the last couple of years, the hamper program has grown from handing out under 100 packages to several hundred this year. Each one includes non-perishable and other food items, a grocery gift card and some treats – like candy and a gingerbread house-making kit.
“(It’s) something that will bring some happiness and helps them celebrate the season a little bit more,” Wild said.
The hampers have always included a gift card so families can have a nice Christmas dinner, he added. As the church made connections and built relationships through its other programs, it has found more people across the region struggle with food insecurity.
“It’s been a long haul with COVID and certainly folks have been struggling more,” Wild said. “At this time of the year, it’s important to provide them with something that brings a little cheer, brings them some food that they can put on their table for Christmas.”
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