Share A Christmas campaign still needs donations of non-perishable food, volunteers to help with deliveries

Volunteers help sort non-perishable food items Tuesday, Dec. 18, night at Community Centre 55 as part of the Share A Christmas campaign. Photo by Alan Shackleton.

By ALAN SHACKLETON

Community Centre 55 is still in need of donations and volunteers as its Share A Christmas campaign counts down the last few days before this Saturday’s deliveries of hampers are made to the close to 1,000 families in the community who are in need of support this holiday season.

Debbie Visconti, executive director of Community Centre 55, said that donations of certain non-perishable food items are now very much in need as are volunteers to help with the massive delivery undertaking on Saturday, Dec. 22.

“We’re especially in need of non-perishable donations such as canned meat, cereals and pet food,” she said on Tuesday, Dec. 18, night during the first of this week’s packing and sorting sessions at Community Centre 55.

Lots of volunteers were at the centre, at 97 Main St., Tuesday evening to help get work started on the massive job of sorting and packing donations.

The volunteers were busy unloading bags and bags of food donations and sorting the items by type. There were countless jars of peanut butter, dried pasta and canned goods coming out of the bags which were being passed hand-to-hand from the centre’s basement into the main floor sorting room.

Visconti said the centre is extremely appreciative of all the volunteers who come out to help.

“We would not be able to do this without the volunteers,” she said. “We have hundreds of volunteers helping and we are moving literally tens of thousands of pounds of food.”

The remaining days volunteers are needed to help pack and sort non-perishable food at the centre are tonight (Dec. 19), and Thursday, Dec. 20 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

On Friday, Dec. 21, from 6 to 8 p.m., adult volunteers are needed to sort and pack toys at the centre. Organizers ask that children not volunteer for the Dec. 21 session.

On Saturday, Dec. 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the packing and sorting of perishable food items such as turkeys, hams, bread, milk and cakes, and the loading of delivery vehicles will take place. Deliveries will then be made to community members from 1 p.m. on.

Visconti said there’s a real need for help on Saturday, and drivers with vehicles to help make deliveries are much in demand. “We need people to drive on Saturday and help deliver the food.”

Along with the volunteer drivers who deliver the hampers, there’s a crew of teen elves who help distribute the hampers at apartment buildings and other large complexes that have a lot of recipients.

This is the 37th year for Share A Christmas and it’s vitally important for those who receive the hampers. Without them, they would not have a Christmas.

There’s also enough food in the hampers to help those who receive them last into the new year, added Visconti.

Also, Visconti said that on Sunday, Dec. 23 from 10 a.m.to 2 p.m., Community Centre 55’s doors will be open as they hold an Emergency Toy Clinic for families that cannot afford to buy toys for Christmas presents.

Everyone is welcome to come out and volunteer at Community Centre 55 this week, but participants need to know the packing and sorting is a busy procedure and if young children are coming to help, their families need to be aware that it can be a hectic environment.

Volunteers are also asked to dress in layers as the temperature can vary in the building. “Bring your muscles as the food boxes can get heavy. Bring your patience as lots of elves come out to help,” said Community Centre 55’s website.

To volunteer as a teen elf or driver to deliver hampers on Saturday, please contact Community Centre 55’s Jade Maitland at 416-691-1113, ext. 224 or by email at jade@centre55.com

Anyone wishing to donate non-perishable food items, new unwrapped toys or money to Share A Christmas is asked to contact Community Centre 55 at 416-691-1113 or visit www.centre55.com


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