04 Jan 2021
Christmas may have come and gone for many, but we are still in the season of Christmas and the spirit of Christmas. The Christmas Hamper project was a wonderful success thanks to the work of a small but dedicated group of volunteers and the generosity of many. Below is the final update for Christmas 2020.
For 25 years, St. Luke's Mission and Outreach Committee has provided Christmas hampers, and this year carried on the tradition as part of Immanuel. The pandemic of course caused a twist to the tradition, both increasing the need for hampers and reducing the number of parish members who could be involved in shopping, packing and delivering.
With a small team on the ground, and many others praying and providing financial contributions, we were able to assemble hampers for 17 families, a total of 44 adults and 31 children. Ten of the recipient families were referred by the Young Parent Program at Balfour Collegiate, six were from the Sask. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Society, and one was a private referral.
In an effort to ensure that our hampers were Covid-free, we chose to replace our normal meat and fresh food items (milk, margarine, produce) with a gift card to the recipients' chosen store. Susan MacPhail purchased all these gift cards. Instead of parishioners adopting a child to buy a gift for, Pat Kohli and her granddaughter shopped online for 24 children, picked up and wrapped all the gifts. The seven teenagers received gift cards to Cornwall Centre. To reduce shopping exposure, Kim Smith purchased all the baby products from her London Drugs store and my “right hand” Betty West and I did a small number of “mega” shopping trips. In addition to food and toiletries, we bought warm socks for each adult and diapers/formula for the babies. Dawn Gates knit mitts and toques at home. All items had at least a week to decontaminate before being packed and delivered. Betty, her husband George, and I spent 3 days packing and delivering the hampers, grateful for strong backs, George's truck, good weather and ice-free sidewalks. Richard Brown ably managed the financial donations, as always.
Even though the team seemed small in number this year, it was clear that many people from our new Immanuel Parish were praying and stayed involved in that most important way. Individual donations received to date came to an all-time high of $2,155 — with vestry approving another $2,000 from the mission fund.
It's been an extraordinary year in every way. One of the staff at Balfour remarked that our Christmas hampers meant SO much to their young mothers, esp. this year; our SDHHS contact echoed that our gift is the only Christmas some of their families will have. Thanks be to God that our team seems to be Covid-free and that we could respond, once again, from our abundance. God's love flowing through all of us and on to others seems the heart of the coming of Christ that we celebrate.
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