Again we have finished another very successful Christmas Hamper Campaign. I wish all of you could see Good Cheer through our eyes.
We start with a bunch of motorcycle riders from northern B.C. doing a Toy Run, which kick starts us for the year. The ride happens in September, then in the blink of an eye, we’re opening our depot doors and it’s already December.
We could not operate Good Cheer if Maple Park Mall did not welcome us in to do our big campaign, and they allow us to leave all of our shelving in place, something we are extremely grateful for because that shelving is a huge job to tear down and set up and try to find somewhere big enough to store.
Also, a huge thank you to Paul, Steve and Rory and Save-On Foods for their continued support and help.
We get to meet our recipients as they come to apply, and our donors as they bring in their cheque, cash, food or toy donation.
It’s all hands on deck with all of the volunteers who come in to give of their time and energy. Every volunteer knows their job and just goes and does it.
One crew starts out with bare shelves and within two weeks the shelves are getting pretty full. By the third week, the shelves are ready for our two shopping days – where we fill each individual hamper, done with help from even more volunteers.
We have another crew that comes in just so they can tape the hampers closed on our shopping days and label them, then they come back for the last two days when our hampers are given to our recipients.
We have two ladies, one of whom who inputs our applications on the computer to let us know if we have any doubles or errors, and the other who does all the paperwork to get us ready for shopping day.
This thank you is very difficult to write, because so many donations have come in and it’s not fair if I miss even one donor, but it is just impossible to keep track of.
At times, four or five donations come in at the same time and we just don’t get them written down. Volunteers could be busy unloading a bunch of food, and someone will slip in, put their donation on the table, and leave before we can get any information from them.
But it is wonderful to watch the donations come in. Many of the donations were raised in very creative ways by people ranging from the very young to our elders. Donations could be raised through silent auctions at work, food drives at schools and in businesses, casual dress day at work, gifts given in memory of loved ones, people working at home throughout the year on handmade gifts, gift bags made up for our teens, children saving their allowance to buy food, and many more ways. It is so awesome to see.
And that is also what makes it so hard to retire from volunteering at Good Cheer – because we love it so much.
So with our aches, pains and all, we keep coming back to make Christmas a little bit easier for people in our community.
And Quesnel keeps on giving, because it is a very caring, generous community. And, I believe, one of the best places to live on earth.
To all of our donors and recipients: may peace break into your house and may thieves come and steal your debt. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Dianne Greenwood is the coordinator at Good Cheer in Quesnel.