Black Press file photo

Creston’s Christmas hamper program shifting to gift card care packages due to COVID-19

The Creston Ministerial Association is hoping that the community will help them raise their projected costs of $50,000 to cover the program’s expenses.

Due to COVID-19, the Creston Ministerial Association’s annual Christmas hamper program will be distributing care packages containing gift cards and other goods instead of hamper boxes to those in need this year, and they are hoping that the community will help them raise their projected costs of $50,000 to cover the program’s expenses.

“We recognize that there’s disappointment in this. It’s not ideal. We wrestled and wrestled with how best to do this,” said Tom Greentree, a member of the ministerial and a pastor at the Erickson Covenant Church. “We don’t like the gift card idea, but in light of all the limitations, what can you do?”

In previous years, Ministerial president Hermen Koehoorn said the program would see around $20,000 to $30,000 in donations, which would come in the form of cash, groceries, toys and more.

READ MORE: Volunteers pack 430 Christmas hampers for Creston Ministerial Association

“But now we’re having to basically give money so people can buy that. The reason why we’re going to the card system this year is because getting groceries is always an essential service,” said Koehoorn, who’s also a pastor at New Life Church. “If COVID resurges, panic hits and they shut everything down, people can still go to the grocery store and use that card. Even if we can’t pack anything for them, we can find a way to get them a card.”

Koehoorn highlighted that the projected additional expenses of $20,000 comes from an increase in grocery prices.

“There’s supply and extra need, and when you put those together, we’re projecting another $20,000 of expense that will incur. You can give a gift card for a few dollars, but it doesn’t go that far anymore nowadays,” said Koehoorn. “We want to be generous but we also want to be financially responsible too, and it’s finding that balance. That’s where the $50,000 comes from.”

Koehoorn noted that another factor that influenced the Ministerial’s decision to go with gift cards was the fact that the Creston Valley Gleaners Society wasn’t able to donate this year, as they have been dealing with their own adversities due to the pandemic.

“(Gleaners) were a huge donater of food and goods. They knew it was coming each year, so when they would do their orders, they would bring in a lot and donate a lot. That isn’t going to happen this year, because they’re hardly able to keep up with what they’ve got going on,” he said.

Traditionally, the two-day event would begin on a Monday, where hundreds of volunteers would gather at the rec centre to assemble hamper boxes that would be filled with food and other goods. The next day, registered families, couples or individuals would swing by to pick up their boxes.

READ MORE: Creston’s Christmas hamper fund helps hundreds

This year’s hamper event, however, has been limited to one day and will take place on Dec. 16.

“The hope is we’re going to set-up in the Holy Cross Catholic Church parking lot. The beauty of that parking lot is that the rec centre is right above, so we’re going to stage people in their vehicles so they don’t have to meet in a building,” said Koeehoorn. “We’ll have people coordinating up there to send people to drive down to the parking lot. When they get down there, we’re going to have a gift card for them and a care package.”

Despite the shift in their approach, Greentree said that he hopes that the Ministerial’s efforts show that they “really do care” about the community.

“We want people to have a joyful Christmas, and to recognize that when they’re in a pinch or on the margins, that this is the kind of thing to boost their spirits,” said Greentree.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: aaron.hemens@crestonvalleyadvance.ca


@aaron_hemens
aaron.hemens@crestonvalleyadvance.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nelson-Creston Green Party candidate Nicole Charlwood speaks during the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce’s all-candidate virtual forum on Oct. 21. Photo: Aaron Hemens
Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce hosts all-candidates virtual forum

More than 30 people tuned into the two-hour webinar, which saw nearly 20 subjects explored

Environment Canada has issued a snow warning for the Kootenays on Friday. File photo
Environment Canada issues snow warning for Friday

Two-to-10 centimetres is expected to fall

Terry Tiessen is the B.C. Libertarian Party candidate for Nelson-Creston. Photo: Submitted
ELECTION 2020: Terry Tiessen

The third of four interviews with the Nelson-Creston candidates

COVID-19 test tube. (Contributed)
test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health launches online booking for COVID-19 tests

Testing is available to anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms

Touchstones Museum has opened up Nelson’s Cold War bunker to the public. The unique exhibit includes artifacts from the 1950s and 60s. Photo: Tyler Harper
Take cover! Cold War bunker opens to public in Nelson

The shelter was built in 1964 in case of nuclear fallout

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Jack Vellutini, 100, is still making sweet music. Photo: Submitted
Music stirs memories as Trail serenader nears 101st birthday

Jack Vellutini gave his brass instruments to Trail up-and-comers so the legacy of music can live on

Most Read