The doors are open, volunteers are standing by and Dianne Greenwood said she’s getting ready for a possible increase in the number of Good Cheer hampers her crew will hand out.
“With Canfor shutting down as well as we’re seeing more addresses from out of province and a lot of new faces, we could be facing an increase from last year’s 801 hampers distributed,” Greenwood said.
Those wishing to receive a Good Cheer hamper can drop by the old Zellers store in Maple Park Mall next to Dollarama, just remember to bring ID.
And that is also the location for those wishing to donate either non-perishable food or new toys. Good Cheer is open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
For the past 24 years, Greenwood has co-ordinated the Good Cheer Campaign and she said in all those years they’ve never been short or run out of hamper contents.
“Somehow we always get through,” she said with a smile.
By this time, Greenwood has contacted her loyal supporters and everyone is on board.
“Cheques are starting to roll in,” she said.
Each hamper is valued at about $120 plus the toys which is a just over $96,000 if the numbers remain the same.
Each year she purchases groceries for items they don’t usually get in donations, are perishable or need topping up on the shelves in the depot. That number last year was $56,000.
Its a pretty tall order to fill that many hampers knowing this will probably be many family’s Christmas dinner, but Greenwood and her volunteers are up for the challenge and will work tirelessly for the next 17 days to get the job done.
This year hasn’t been without its challenges. They haven’t yet got their phone installed which is way behind schedule, but Greenwood said its all good, a favourite saying of hers.
Good Cheer could never be a one-person operation and she has nothing but praise for her valued volunteers.
“Many of my volunteers have been with Good Cheer for a long time, like Nick and Audrey Presage who have logged 15 years with the program,” she said.
“Keith Watkins has been with us for about 12 years and his wife Wilma for about 10 years.”
However, one story warms her heart. Kim and Jason Crerar met at the Good Cheer depot, they now live in Prince George and have two daughters. Every year they devote the shopping weekend (major grocery sorting) and this year an additional two weekends to volunteering with Quesnel Good Cheer.
“The two girls have already put their teachers on notice they’ll be in Quesnel because they have a job with Good Cheer,” Greenwood said with a smile.
“One of the girls asked me to stick around for the next 15 years and then she’ll take over.”
She added Kim’s employer works her schedule to accommodate her commitment to Good Cheer.
Greenwood said with no downtown parade this year, no Carolfest and no door-to-door drive, they will have to really rely on the community to help Good Cheer out, however many of the food drives such as classroom and retail stores have donation boxes and again she said, “Its all good.”
When asked what was the most pressing need, Greenwood said with a laugh, “at this point we need everything.” But she went on to say they especially need new toys.
“That’s what’s most important to the children,” she added.
So Quesnel, again dig deep for the Good Cheer program, drop off donations wherever you see the Good Cheer bins and know you are helping the less fortunate at this special time of year.