Donations, drivers needed for Christmas basket program
The Kiwanis Club of Stratford and its local radio station partner have been teaming up to provide area families with a free holiday meal for the past four-plus decades.
The number of people benefiting from the annual Christmas basket program has grown significantly since its inception.
“A hundred baskets, probably, back then and now we’re at 650,” event chairperson Dave Evans said Friday. “The need has certainly changed.”
This year’s basket assembly and delivery day is slated for the morning of Dec. 21 at The Local Community Food Centre. Over the next two weeks, organizers will be looking to line up more donations and drivers.
“We really rely on the students coming out to help deliver and just help with various jobs,” Evans said.
Interested volunteers are invited to arrive at The Local any time before 9 a.m.
“We’ll put them to work,” he said.
The entire club – about 45 members – will be on hand, along with the volunteers.
“There’s probably several hundred people when you start talking the club, the students, and the citizens of Stratford,” he said.
Qualified recipients can request a basket through the local Salvation Army or House of Blessing. Once approved, they will receive a gift certificate to buy a turkey, ham or chicken.
“Whatever they like,” Evans said.
The hamper, meanwhile, contains everything else required for a festive meal, such as potatoes, onions, carrots, cookies, dessert, bread, and bags of apples and oranges.
“They ’ve got everything they need for a good Christmas dinner,” Evans said. “Pretty well covers whatever anyone would want.”
Larger families are given bigger portions.
It costs between $28,000 and $30,000 to pay for the food, Evans said. The cost is covered by fundraisers – a radiothon was held Friday – that have been ongoing since August.
“We just go to the community to get the funding and people have been good enough to give,” he said. “The people of Stratford have been generous enough to help us.” [email protected]media.com
Kiwanis Club of Stratford member Dave Evans puts a donation in the Christmas basket fund bucket held by local radio station general manager Wendy Gray on Friday.