One aspect of Lake Cowichan that truly makes the town unique from all others on Vancouver Island is their annual Christmas Hamper project that Community Services puts on.
The community spirit and passion to volunteer that comes along with this the Christmas Hamper project is phenomenal. Hundreds of Lake Cowichan residents filed into Centennial Hall on Dec. 14 to unload upwards of $10,000 worth of food, toys and other gifts for the area’s underprivileged.
Angie Fournier of Community Services coordinated this year’s Christmas Hamper drive. She was elated that everything came together for yet another year. Helping Cowichan Lake’s less fortunate families would not have been possible she said, if not for the tireless work of the community’s many volunteers.
“If it wasn’t for the volunteers it would not happen. I’m thankful to each and every one of them. The gifts that just came in — that’s phenomenal. It’s unbelievable and it’s going to make Christmas for a lot of people. Looking around, there is so much here and this town is amazing,” she said.
After all of the community’s volunteers hauled in all their offerings to Centennial Hall, Mayor Ross Forrest and Town Councillors Franklin Hornbrook, Bob Day and Jayne Ingram cooked a lasagna and salad lunch for everyone who came out to lend a helping hand.
Fournier was overly impressed Forrest, Hornbook, Day and Ingram attended to support the Christmas Hamper initiative. It was the third year Town Council cooked for the Christmas Hamper project’s volunteers. Transforming from politicians into chefs for the day, Fournier was clearly a fan of Town Council’s culinary abilities.
“Thank goodness for them. That’s great,” Fournier added.
Mayor Forrest was slightly overwhelmed at the degree of support behind the Christmas Hamper.
“This is a very caring, giving town, as you can see by the support of people that are out to help out with this. I know I’m impressed when I walk in the door here and see it. It really is something to see,” said Forrest.
Despite a busy schedule, Forrest was happy he could join in the activities.
“At the end of the day, everyone feels pretty good for helping out. This is a really big day for the families that need it,” he added.
Councillor Ingram was so pleased with the community’s spirit she got slightly emotional. It’s clear the Christmas Hamper project is very dear to community leaders like Ingram.
“It’s emotional for me. It’s about us helping our own community that need our help. To make a healthy community, we need to help people that are struggling because that effects our whole community,” she said.
Fournier noted that it’s the little things that make the wheels and bearings of the Christmas Hamper project go round.
“The fact that volunteers help families take hampers out to their car and help load it in and if they don’t have a car they will drive them home. I think that makes a big difference, too.
Community Services will revive the Christmas Hamper project for next holiday season but until then, the organization has ensured that a handful of local families won’t be deprived of the holiday season’s merrier things.