Do­na­tions, drivers needed for Christ­mas bas­ket pro­gram

The Beacon Herald - - NEWS - TERRY BRIDGE STAFF RE­PORTER

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

TERRY BRIDGE/THE BEA­CON HER­ALD

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.

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