As snow covers the ground of our mountain town, itís a true sign that winter has started and the holiday season is just around the corner.
Whistler Community Services Society offers programs to support those in our community who are in need and/or financially restricted. This community is fortunate to have a 55-plus population who are very generous with both their volunteer time and monetary donations.
On an annual basis I am fortunate to see familiar faces in our office making donations to our food bank over this festive season. The holiday time does bring out the cheer in everyone, and the Whistler Food Bank is very grateful to have such a giving community and the increase in donations at this time of the year.
I would also like to bring to your attention another program that you may want to participate in this year, the Santa's Hamper Program. Financially restricted Whistler families can apply for a Christmas hamper filled with all the fixings for a holiday dinner and presents for each child 17 and under in the family. The gifts are based on a wish list from the family that is provided to WCSS.
This program is Whistler-specific as Squamish and Pemberton have their own program. And, as always, all inquires are confidential and family names are omitted during the sponsorship process.
Whatís in a hamper? It includes unwrapped gifts and either food or a grocery store gift card to ensure that the family can make a holiday dinner.
Want to be a Santa's Helper this year? Hamper donations are a nice way of spreading holiday spirit, and there are a lot of different ways to contribute. Some families or individuals will do it on their own, or coordinate sponsorship with co-workers, club members or family members.
What is the cost to support a family? A small family is a single parent with one child or two, with a total cost of $180 to $200. A large family is any more than three members with a price range of $250 to $290.
There are two ways to donate. You can make a monetary donation towards the hamper and contents and WCSS will purchase the required items, or you can put a hamper together yourself ówe will provide you with a food list and a family gift wish list.
WCSS staff handle the deliveries of hampers to ensure the confidentiality of each family. Itís a wonderful experience to see the appreciation and thanks on the faces of parents, along with the excitement of the children.
With such a giving community you may ask yourself what happens if there are extra toys or gifts collected? WCSS donates all extra toys and gifts to families in need in Mt.Currie.
For Christmas 2012, WCSS sponsored 26 Whistler Families with a Santaís Helpers Christmas Hamper.
This past Friday, Dec, 6, Mountain FM held their 10th annual Christmas Breakfast at the Westin Resort & Spa. WCSS was the grateful recipient of non-perishable food items for the Whistler Food Bank ó some 1,500 pounds worth! ó and 300-plus childrenís toys. What a great turnout of community members! We were able to bring a cube truck to pick up all the donations.
There are other opportunities to make a contribution to the Whistler Food Bank.
For example, do you happen to have a fine at the library? Maybe your Whistler lifestyle kept you too busy to finish a book on time? Our community partner. the Whistler Public Library, will be offering a Food for Fines promotion leading up to Christmas.
What a great way to clear your fines and know that you have put food on someoneís table at the same time.
As the holiday season quickly approaches, please take a minute to find a program to support those who are less fortunate than yourself. Happy Holidays.