It was organized chaos Monday morning as grade eight students from St. Francis School here helped to get the Salvation Army’s Christmas hampers ready for distribution starting today.
The assembly line of children feverishly raced around the large room full of food and toys, picking out what needed to be in the hampers for each of the 230 families who will receive one this year.
“I have made out some grocery lists that the children are following,” noted Capt. Sylvia Alcock of the Salvation Army. “They follow the list and then check off each item they put in the hamper.
“It is the easiest way to do it.”
Hand-picking the students from St. Francis School, Capt. Alcock was very pleased with the work they were putting into the hampers.
“I picked the children from St. Francis because they have been very helpful to us over the past year,” she said. “I thought this would be a good thing for them to be involved with, and it also helps us out a lot.”
Teacher Jean Bujold was happy her students were able to help out such a worthy cause.
“We donated a hamper [to the Salvation Army] this year,” she remarked. “We really wanted to help out Sylvia with the hampers so here we are.”
With almost half of the hampers filled by 10 a.m., Capt. Alcock was certain there would be no problem getting everything completed by the noon deadline.
“Everything has been running smoothly, and we have gotten a great deal of it done already,” she noted. “I don’t think there will be any problem getting it all done today.”
In addition to the hampers, the students also helped get toys ready to be distributed to the children of the 230 needy families.
“You can see that we have a lot of children to give toys to this year,” Capt. Alcock said as she pointed to the dozens of black garbage bags full of toys that lined the walls of the former employment centre office on First Street East.
“Each child in each family will be getting two toys each, and any of the toys we have left over we will be giving out,” she noted. “In the past, we have donated our leftover toys to the Atikokan Crisis Centre and Family and Children Services.”
Busy helping the students find the grocery items on their lists, Capt. Alcock was happy so many families would be able to use the hampers to make their Christmas a little bit brighter this year.
“We have about 230 families in need this Christmas, which may seem like a lot,” she admitted. “But, in fact, last year we had the same amount.
“For this size of a community, that is a large number of people in need at the holidays. I am just glad we can help them out.”