Brandon-Westman Christmas Cheer Registry volunteers are already in full motion to ensure everyone gets a Christmas this year.
“We go all year round,” said Sandra Wray, one of many volunteers who help make Christmas Cheer a success every year. “Our groceries are ordered, our poultry will be ordered very, very shortly.
“It’s incredible, it’s all year round, it’s never far from our minds.”
Every year, the organization supplies Christmas hampers for families and individuals in need.
The registry office, located at 710 Rosser Ave., is set to open on Nov. 4 from 1-4 p.m. Starting Dec. 2, the office will be open 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m.
Those wanting to drop off donations can do so at the registry office starting Nov. 12.
Registering for a hamper can be done through any school, social agency, church or by contacting the Samaritan House or Salvation Army.
Wray said they’re opening the registry office early this year to help keep up with the demand.
“We found that there’s such an overwhelming need that six weeks just doesn’t cut it for the people that are in the office. We need more time,” she said. “We couldn’t keep up last year.”
Last year, the organization delivered 956 hampers in the Brandon and Westman area with help from the Salvation Army, several churches, organizations and volunteers. Seven First Nations also received food and gifts for community Christmas parties.
“We’re really looking forward to another wonderful year and we’re always very thankful for the kindness of the Brandon-Westman area that continues to support Christmas Cheer.”
Every year they find themselves hoping for more stocking stuffers for all ages, new or unused toys as well as toques, mittens and socks, Wray said.
“We always wish we had more of anything,” she said. “Once a child reaches 14, then we give them movie passes, but if we have little things that we can give the kids as far as stocking stuffers go, we will do that.”
To help ensure everyone stays warm this winter, a group of volunteers also knits extra toques and mittens for children and adults.
Besides donations, the organization is always looking for more volunteers.
“We’re always in need of volunteers. Good strong people that can move heavy boxes.”
Next month, volunteers will also be launching a website, which will be a first for the organization.
“We’re really, really excited,” she said. “We’re hoping that people will go on the website, see what we’re in need of, see what’s coming up.”
The website will also be equipped with PayPal so people can go online and make monetary donations.
Wray has been a Christmas Cheer volunteer for nearly nine years and said it’s the kindness of the community that motivates her to continue donating her time.
“We have a dedicated group of people from all over Brandon-Westman that supports Christmas Cheer so kindly,” she said.
“I think I can say for all of us that it’s just knowing that a family might be having a bad time this year or is in need for some other reason, we’re able to help them out with Christmas.”
Hamper deliveries will be made in the afternoon or evening of Dec. 18 or in the morning of Dec. 19. For more information or to volunteer, call 204-727-2559. Phone lines will be open on Nov. 12.
Wray said they are also looking for more volunteers to help with deliveries.
“We find that it’s really hard to get drivers then,” she said. “It’s a lot of work and it’s right around Christmas ... but they dedicate themselves and there’s a good group of people that support us and help us.”
Ways you can help this season
• Canned or non-perishable foods
• New, unwrapped toys and gifts for children and teens
• Knitted articles, mitts, scarves, baby clothes
• Gifts for adults: toiletries are especially welcome
• Books for all ages
• Send donations to Brandon Sun or to the Brandon-Westman Christmas Cheer Registry mail address: Box 50003, Brandon, R7A 7E4
• Official receipts are issues. A self-addressed stamped envelope is much appreciated.
• There is much to be done in a short time. The registry needs individuals or small groups to wrap and sort as well as pack and deliver hampers.
• The registry needs volunteers capable of heavy lifting and carrying.
• Decided on the size of family you or your group wishes to provide for. Contact the registry office and you will be provided with all the necessary information. You’ll be notified of your family’s name and address as soon as applications are processed.
• Through the co-operation of all helping agencies, schools and churches the names of hamper recipients are submitted.
• Names of rural families in need are passed on to rural contacts that work closely with the registry.
» Brandon-Westman Christmas Cheer Registry
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 9, 2013