Christmas is just around the corner — which means that it’s time to donate to the Creston Ministerial Association’s annual food hamper drive, which provides Christmas dinner to less fortunate families from Riondel to Yahk.
The association started the project over 40 years ago to provide for a few families in need. The numbers requesting hampers each year are vastly greater now, and keep growing — last year, 430 were packed, up from 414 in 2009 and 360 in 2008.
Hampers go to both families and singles — who can sign themselves up or have someone else do it by calling a church or Gleaners — with each family receiving a turkey and single people receiving a barbecue chicken meal from Overwaitea Foods, as well as additional non-perishable food items, some donated and some purchased.
“We need about $20,000 to cover the cost of turkey and extras,” said Glad Tidings Pentecostal Church Pastor Carl Sawler.
Donations of food can be made at several locations around town, while cash donations can be made at any Creston church or at the Creston Valley Advance. The ministerial association uses any leftover cash to help Creston Valley residents with medical needs.
The final opportunity to donate this year will be on Dec. 18 during a carol festival held at Glad Tidings at 7 p.m. Both cash and non-perishable food items will be accepted.
Toys and books are also welcome. The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy has drop-off boxes at several locations around town to accept donations of new books, and Pyramid Building Supplies is once again accepting toys — simply pick a tag with a gender and age off the tree at the store, buy an appropriate gift and return it, unwrapped, to Pyramid.
This year, the hampers will be packed on Dec. 19 at the Creston and District Community Complex, and may be picked up the next day.
With school out that week, Sawler said there may be a shortage of volunteers, many of whom come from local schools — and over 100 are usually needed. But Sawler is anticipating the community’s giving spirit will ensure a good turnout.
“People have been generous and we’re very thankful for that. … People keep giving and giving.”
For more information or to sign up to volunteer, call Sawler at 250-428-7418.