Trail Salvation Army has turned their operations into Santa’s workshop this month, as workers and volunteers round up donated gifts for local children and prepare food hampers for those who can’t afford a Christmas with all the fixings.
With 365 Christmas food hampers given out last year and an expanding list of families who take monthly food baskets and eat in at Kate’s Kitchen, food bank manager Linda Radtke suspects more residents will be using their seasonal services.
“It’s incredible, everybody is so busy,” she said. “With the amount of toys we have, we do feel like Santa and his elves. It’s so cool just to see all the stuff come in, it’s like Christmas every day for us.”
Those in need are treated to the real deal. The hampers are stuffed with items such as canned soups, beans and cookies and meat and fresh produce gift certificates to either Ferraro Foods or Extra Foods.
While the Christmas hampers contain specialty items like cranberry sauce and gift certificates to give families the traditional dining experience, giving is not a deed picked up only once a year.
The Salvation Army will give out approximately 9,600 monthly food hampers by year-end and serve 11,040 lunches, according to Radtke. This is up about 20 per cent from last year.
St. Andrew’s Anglican Church opens its food cupboard to the public the second Tuesday of every month with the Trail United Church filling in the remaining Tuesdays.
“This time of year is extra special and we have all different types of people coming in,” she said, adding that their customers come from many different backgrounds. About 20 per cent of their clientele are working class individuals, five per cent live on unemployment insurance, 60 per cent on social assistance, 10 per cent off of pension and five per cent are students.
Greater Trail residents wanting to contribute can drop off non-perishable items at the food bank or even consider purchasing a gift for a child who otherwise wouldn’t have presents under the tree.
The Salvation Army also runs a family sponsor program, where the organization matches donators with a family in need.
“This town is amazing with their donations, absolutely amazing,” said Radtke. “I couldn’t be more proud to live in a place (like) Trail.”
Festive food hampers and gifts will be given out Dec 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Salvation Army Church (2030 Second Ave.) in East Trail.