Who We Are
We are a British Columbia registered non-profit society, a registered charity under Canada Revenue Agency Charities Act, and a member of the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. We are volunteer-run – no one is paid wages or honorariums from the Society for any reason. We do not conduct door-to-door, telephone, or email campaigns to solicit money; we depend solely on the generosity of local residents, service clubs, organizations, groups and businesses for support.
How We Started
The Christmas Hamper Society was founded in the late 1960s. The volunteers were mostly from service clubs and the volunteer fire department – people who wanted to help struggling families have a wonderful Christmas. At that time there was no registration and the referral process was simply word of mouth. Local organizations, school teachers, and citizens at large submitted names.
How We Have Grown
We are still local volunteers working together to ensure every registered family receives a Christmas Hamper. Although the scope of work has remained the same, changes have been made to ensure fairness and equality. We now have a registration policy, and rather than collecting food, we provide each family with a grocery store voucher.
What We Offer
Once a family has successfully navigated our Registration process, the fun begins (not that registration isn’t fun!)!
Registered families can either request to participate in our Good Neighbours Program or elect to visit the Toy Barn. The Good Neighbours program matches a registered family in need with a family wishing to lend a hand.
We know that parents know their kids better than we do, so registered parents and/or caregivers who do not choose to participate in the Good Neighbours Program are paired with a Shopping Elf and invited to visit the Toy Barn to choose gifts for their child(ren). Everything from stocking stuffers to sports equipment, board games to Barbies, LEGO to leggings is available! Each child from birth to 18 years receives a gift hamper worth $75 to $100.
We believe that Christmas is about family, so we offer activities families can do together, like board games. But we also want our families to enjoy the luxury of a Christmas dinner, so we provide each one with a certificate that gives them the chance to pick up some special holiday treats at the grocery store. The voucher lists specific ‘traditional’ Christmas foods, but allows the family to choose their favourite vegetables, juice and dessert items.
Registered families also have access to Rudolph’s Recycle Gift Shoppe. A well-organized barn filled with gently used items ranging from bedding to clothing and footwear to books and holiday decor and more. Our families “shop” here for free!
And finally … the Kids Only Gift Shoppe. A one-day event open to the children ONLY, at which they get to choose a gift for their parents/caregivers with the help of a Shopping Elf. Santa and Mrs Claus ALWAYS attend this festive event, distributing stuffed toys and collecting wishes. Read more here.
How We Serve The Community
Our volunteers meet trains, collect toys from community donation bins, speak at schools and community events, accept and sort donations, work our registration events, set up and tear down office and event spaces, help registered parents choose gifts for their children, help children from registered families choose Christmas gifts for their parents, help sponsors with their fundraising efforts, administer the Good Neighbour (Adopt-A-Family) Program, and operate “Rudolph’s Gift Shoppe™”. Phew!