At Woolwich Community Services, the season of giving means thinking of strangers as well as family and friends.
The agency is in the thick of preparations for its annual Christmas hamper program. Families in need get a hamper stuffed with toys, clothes, food and a turkey or ham.
Last year, 126 families, including 236 children, were recipients of the hampers. By the middle of this week, WCS had about 115 applications, putting them on target for the same number of hampers as last year.
The agency is looking for donations of new clothing and toys, non-perishable food and cash to purchase food vouchers and any items in short supply.
Coordinator Kelly Christie said traditional gifts like Lego, farm sets and dolls are always popular.
“There are things that are always in demand. Every year kids always ask for the dolls, the blocks, the farm sets.”
For a more specific gift idea, wish trees are located in Home Hardware stores in Elmira, Linwood and St. Jacobs. Pick a wish tag, purchase the item, and return it to the above locations.
It’s also possible to sponsor and shop for an entire family. The agency will provide information about the number of people in the family, what their needs are and clothing sizes and ages.
Donations are accepted at Home Hardware stores in Elmira, Linwood and St. Jacobs; Wal-Mart in Waterloo and Gramma B’s in Elmira. You can also drop off items at Woolwich Community Services at 73 Arthur St. S. until Dec. 11.
The program is run entirely through the efforts of volunteers who do the shopping, wrapping and assembling. Well over 100 volunteers pitch in every year, Christie said.
At EDSS, teacher Alex Derma’s Grade 11 class has turned the wood shop into Santa’s workshop, making wooden toys that they’ll donate to the hamper program.
“It’s a real community effort,” Christie said. “Everybody seems to be helping in some way.”
The hampers will be filled Dec. 15 and 16 at Lions Hall and will be ready for pick up on Dec. 17.
For more information, to request a hamper, or to volunteer, call the WCS office at 519-669-5139.