To ensure every family, including Ukrainian refugees, experiences the joy of Christmas, the Christmas Cheer Board is ready to send out more hampers.
The Christmas Cheer Board (CCB) has been operating in Winnipeg for 103 years, providing families and individuals with food and toy hampers throughout the holiday season.
With the last few years being reduced to gift cards and toys, CCB is excited to once again be back in the warehouse and packaging food for people in need.
Community members have also shown excitement about the packing of Christmas hampers.
"When we initially started out this year, we really didn't know what we were going to look forward to in terms of volunteers," says Shawna Bell, Executive Director of the Christmas Cheer Board. "We have been so very well supported in the last couple of weeks by people stepping forward and wanting to volunteer with us, many of them for the first time. We had probably about an 80 per cent return from our volunteers that have come to us year after year."
Bell also says that despite the increased price of products—food and toys—donations have been coming in. She is hoping that during December even more people will bring in donations.
CCB has recently partnered with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress-Manitoba Provincial Council to assist the many Ukrainian newcomers who fled their country when the war began.
Upon meeting, Bell says that she was not aware of just how many families had travelled to Manitoba looking for safety, approximately 2600 families.
"Last year, at this time, they were getting ready to have their celebrations in their holiday season, and since then we've seen the worst humanitarian crisis in the 21st century impact them. So, it's part of who we are, it's written into our mandate that we're here to help and support people who need us. When the Ukrainian Congress came and said we need some help, we're going to figure it out, we're going to work with them to make it happen."
There are a variety of ways for community members to help the Christmas Cheer Board bring light to struggling people this season. They can sponsor a hamper through the CCB's "Feed a Family Program," entire [Ukrainian] families can be sponsored as well, and donations are accepted, any money donated will be used to purchase items for hampers.
For more information, visit christmascheerboard.ca.