The spirit of Christmas and giving is alive and well in Beiseker, as the rural community prepares to make a full-on effort to provide Christmas hampers to local families in need this holiday season.
“We have such a wonderful community here who are very involved,” said Gail Peckham, who is coordinating the hamper program on behalf of the Village this year, “and a very generous community who donates to this program every year. We are very fortunate.”
Peckham expects an increased need in the community this year, and more families seeking support, because of the difficult economic circumstances. Similar to other communities, increased inflation and other financial pressures have affected Beiseker residents.
“It has been a challenging two years,” she admitted. “And because of inflation and the economics here (in Beiseker), I think there are a number of families, in addition to who we normally support, who are struggling this year.”
Peckham said donation boxes have been set up throughout the village to collect non-perishable food items and unwrapped gifts for the hamper program.
People seeking support can call her at the Village office or contact Community Links’ Beiseker branch to fill out a confidential application to obtain one of the Christmas hampers.
According to Peckham, hampers generally contain a week’s worth of food, a special Christmas turkey or ham with all the fixings, and gifts for children and adults alike.
Many of the children’s gifts come from Beiseker Community School’s Tree of Giving fundraising initiative, Peckham noted.
“They help purchase gifts for a number of the families, particularly for the kids,” she said. “They donate all those gifts to the hamper as well, so it’s a whole community effort.”
In keeping with that whole community effort theme, the Beiseker Fresh Market and its wholesaler TGP will be matching cash donations made by local citizens to support the Christmas hamper program on Nov. 29 – a date also known internationally as Giving Tuesday, which falls on the first Tuesday after the American Thanksgiving holiday.
“Our customers are based in our community,” said Beiseker Fresh Market co-owner Andrew Youn. “I have to support my community so I can get that support back from my community. That is something we (my wholesaler and I) prioritize– it is really important to support the community you are serving in … If I can be part of helping people, of course that is going to feel good.”
Youn said donations on Giving Tuesday can be paid at the Village office or at the Fresh Market. Cheques should be made out to the Beiseker Christmas Hamper Program.
Those in the Beiseker area looking for a Christmas hamper this year should apply before Dec. 14.
Peckham confirmed she and her dedicated team of volunteers will be delivering the Christmas hampers on Dec. 16 this year.