Hundreds of Christmas hampers surround Salvation Army volunteer Bob Guesford as he does a last minute check of the bags while people begin to line up to receive them.

Hundreds of Christmas hampers surround Salvation Army volunteer Bob Guesford as he does a last minute check of the bags while people begin to line up to receive them.

Hampers help bring Christmas to needy

For some people it truly is better to give than to receive.

For some people it truly is better to give than to receive.

And one of those people is Bob Guesford, a retired Trail resident who has spent a good portion of his time before Christmas lodged in the rooms of the Second Avenue Salvation Army building, giving freely of his time to ensure a good Christmas will be had by those in need.

It has been full time hours since the Army launched its Christmas campaign almost three weeks ago, said Guesford, and he couldn’t be happier with the opportunity to contribute to something good.

Never knowing what it was like to want or to lack at Christmas time, Guesford endeavoured to give something back when he retired two years ago.

“I never had to worry about where my next meal was coming from,” he said Wednesday, surrounded by hundreds of Christmas hampers.

“So I figured this was a great way to give something back.”

The Salvation Army had the same number of Christmas hampers filled and ready to go as last year at 365, but that number could change as Wednesday wore on and the extent of people’s needs were apparent, said Army manager Linda Radtke.

Before the 11 volunteers met last Thursday to assemble the hampers — which included a grocery store gift certificate, a bagful of non-perishable items, carrots and potatoes — there was some concern there might not be enough donated items.

“But, in the end, the people of Trail were absolutely phenomenal. We got everything we needed,” she said.

The demand for the Christmas hampers has held steady over the last few years, said Radtke, although the demand for regular hampers has risen by 15 per cent since she first began working at the Salvation Army 16 years ago.

Those families who had children were allowed to pick out some gifts from the “Toy Room” where there were hundreds of new, unwrapped toys for all ages.