The Campbell River Knights of Columbus collected $78,000 to fill 1,154 Christmas hampers this year.
Then on Saturday, dozens of volunteers converged on the old Target store to help fill and deliver them to those in need.
“So the community gives us the money to buy the food, then the community comes in and builds the hampers and then the community comes in and delivers the hampers,” explained Knights of Columbus spokesperson Kevin Gearey.
Rick Tillapaugh has been a volunteer driver delivering the hampers for 4 years.
“We delivered 12 today,” he said. “There are some people that are destitute and need a hand and it’s nice to be able to give them a hand.”
“It’s such a great experience having that connection with the people receiving them,” said volunteer driver Ashleigh Clark. “They’re so grateful, there are hugs and sometimes there are tears. Oh my God, it warms my heart.”
A local Scout troop was helping as well.
“We’ve been doing it as Scouts for the last four years,” said Troop Leader Jed Jackson. “It’s a great cause and we like to help out in the community.”
Organizers say they’ve seen no impact from the current shutdown and strike in the forestry industry. There has been no noticeable increase in logging families signing up for hampers and there was no decrease in donations as people have also been donating to the very successful Loonies for Loggers campaign which is helping struggling logging families.
“You know Campbell River, small town, big heart, they always seem to rise to the occasion and it did not affect us in the least,” said Gearey.