The South Similkameen Christmas Hamper Committee wishes to express their appreciation to the community, businesses, local schools and volunteers for their unprecedented generosity and assistance. The Similkameen has one of the best Christmas Hamper programs in the area. In the area. In 2011, the committee delivered over 150 hampers to those less fortunate in our community. Without the support of our volunteers and community, this would not be possible. The mandate of the South Similkameen Christmas Hamper committee has always been to deliver a Christmas dinner to the people in this area who may not be able to enjoy this holiday.
There is a general agreement amongst the organizers that the program needs to be reassessed as the past few years has seen a slight shift in applicants. Many hamper recipients were most appreciative and needed the help, but unfortunately there were several incidents of abuse. The practice of providing food vouchers in the hamper baskets has become well known amongst those in the region looking for assistance, versus honest need, to the point where it is being taken advantage of.
At this time, the committee realizes that it is necessary to consider changes to the program to ensure that the money and food contributed is used in an effective manor and the program stays focussed on their mandate. A few things that will be reviewed over the next few months include the following:
1. More scrutiny of goods donated to reduce the labour involved in sorting the food, such as checking dates, sorting and separating.
2. Create a list of specific items for collection in order to provide a standard hamper.
3. Earlier registration of applicants to assist with scrutiny.
4. Ensuring the delivery service continues.
5. Focus on providing basic essentials of a Christmas dinner, keeping in mind nutrition.
6. Possibly replacing the food voucher with predetermined Christmas dinner food.
Submitted by the Hamper Fund Committee