The Sooke Christmas Bureau is making the final call for its holiday hampers, as the deadline to submit an application ends on Dec. 1.
Mike Thomas, a co-chair of the bureau, said 140 hampers have already been called for and expect to hit more than 350 hampers by the time Christmas Day rolls around. He said the bureau could end up handing out up to 90 more hampers than they did in 2019.
“We’re a zero-barrier food bank,” said Thomas, pointing out the Christmas Bureau is a subdivision of the Sooke Food Bank that runs only through the holiday season.
“We don’t like to put anyone through any inquisition. As long as they’re a resident of Sooke and need some help, we’ll be there.”
Each holiday hampers includes a turkey or ham, depending on the family’s size, and breakfast food such as pancakes and syrup. Organizers have set aside 420 boxes of pancake mix and an equal amount of syrup bottles in their storage rooms. CFAX Santas Anonymous has taken on an additional 97 hampers in the Sooke region.
Ben Molesky, a co-chair of the Sooke Christmas Bureau, said they’re trying to shift the focus from people donating non-perishable items to online donations instead, as their purchasing power can buy pallets of cereal boxes for better value than shelf price.
This year’s Sooke Santa Run, held by firefighters from Sooke, Otter Point, East Sooke and Shirley, will take place on Dec. 12, starting at dusk.
The annual fundraiser that usually weaves through town collecting non-perishables will encourage online donations to their GoFundMe page to support the bureau and the Sooke Food Bank.
The Christmas Bureau plans to spend more than $30,000 to stock the hampers.
Those who want to apply for the hamper program can send a message to the group’s Facebook page or call 250-642-7666. Those interested in donating for the Sooke Santa Run can head over to ca.gofundme.com/f/sooke-fire-fighters-for-the-sooke-christmas-bureau.
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