2020 Emergency Community Support Fund Round 2 Grant recipient.

Extraordinary Year. Extraordinary Need. Extraordinary Generosity.

WHAT A YEAR! I’m sure you are tired of hearing this sentiment but mine is one of extreme gratitude rather than a COVID-19 reference.

With the increased need due to our ever growing population, out of work families or families forced to double up households to get through this financially difficult time, I was very worried about the success of the Hamper program in 2020. There was also the concern that many of our usual supporters were unable to participate due to COVID-19 restrictions.

SHOULD. HAVE. KNOWN!! The deluge of generosity began when I expressed my concern at a Rotary meeting when, without hesitation, the club agreed to donate significantly, including most of the members. Soon after the Kinettes, Lions, Mason’s Lorne Lodge followed suit along with 11 local churches, the Town of Shelburne, Dufferin Community Foundation, Shelburne Police Service, Dufferin Mutual Insurance and many individuals donating much needed funds.

Local businesses thought creatively to help out even though they had just experienced some very difficult months leading up to the Holiday season. Many offered to collect food and toys and/or put up Giving Trees decorated with donation envelopes. I’d love to give a shout out to all of the businesses individually but the list is so extensive that I have chosen a few to give a cross-section of support.

Tim Hortons – John & Meagen Lewandowski ran a 12 Days of Giving Campaign collected non-perishable items, donated coffee and coffee coupons, and collectible hockey sticks for all hampers, Giant Tiger – Andrew Lewis donated a sizable grocery order of much needed hamper items, Lennox Farms dropped off enough oranges, carrots, cabbage and rutabaga for everyone, Downey’s Potato Farms donated 200 bags of potatoes, Compass Church donated dairy products and local Egg Farmers donated 150 dozen eggs. Thank you to No Frills and Foodland for being so accommodating with my requests.

Another challenge we had this year was “real estate” for our collection and distribution day. To keep everyone healthy we had to change our process to allow for physical distancing. Thank you to the Mel Lloyd Centre for allowing us to store, organize and distribute from their space, Shepherd’s Cupboard Food Bank for helping register our families and offering their best practices for safe vehicle delivery and to Trinity United Church for your beautiful space to collect, organize and distribute our toys. The Shelburne Legion also generously gave us the use of their beautiful walk-in fridge for egg storage.

The kindness of our sponsors helped make Christmas a little brighter for 141 families (up over 34% from 2019). Each family was given a grocery gift card to purchase a turkey or ham, and a large hamper with all components of a festive dinner, as well as, nonperishable food items, personal care items, potatoes, milk, butter, eggs, cheese, oranges, turnip, cabbage and chocolates. Every child 12 and older was given a gift card and parents had the opportunity to select toys, books and games and for children under 12. Enough personal care items for each family were donated by some of the Shelburne area churches.

Much of the food, gift and grocery cards and some of the toys were purchased using money from your generous donations. Many toys were also donated. Thank you to the Town of Shelburne and Pace Credit Union for being drop off locations.

Lastly, thank you to the volunteers who spent many hours making sure that this years’ Hamper Program ran very smoothly. Thank you Rotary, Lions, Kinsmen, Kinettes, Compass Church and to the many community volunteers who helped out. We could not have done it without you!

Once again, there were so many not mentioned here who donated and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thanks to this amazing town’s generosity, the Hamper program was a huge success and made our local families, singles and seniors in need smile.

Each year the need becomes greater in our area and the requests to donate continue to increase. Please know that donations made to the Shelburne Christmas Hamper Program benefits Shelburne families in need of assistance. Monetary donations are accepted throughout the year in preparation for the 2021 campaign.

Check out our website ShelburneChristmasHampers.com or email us at ShelburneChristmasHampers@gmail.com

All the best for a healthy and happy 2021!

Hamper Coordinator…Bobbi Ferguson

Hamper Drive Assistance Program