WAWA — Since the early 1960’s the Wawa Christmas Hamper Fund has been helping people in need during the holiday season.
After a record 167 hampers were distributed last winter, the call is being sent out again for those in the community to help with donations.
“Everybody knows where things are at with the price of food and other expenses, but when you look at fuel, rent and stuff like that, it’s hard enough for regular people … but picture it if you are on low income and especially if you’ve got a few kids or if you are a single mom trying to make ends meet,” Wawa Christmas Hamper Fund president Richard Watson said.
“What we do is provide everything for a Christmas dinner. You’ve got turkey or ham, potatoes, onions, carrots, pasta and different kinds of foods for the kids. Plus, we have gifts for the kids as well.”
One of the major donation events is planned for Saturday, Dec. 9 at Red Apple with the Wawa Fill a Sleigh Day toy drive, which is being held in conjunction with the Ontario Provincial Police, Algoma District Paramedic Services and the Wawa Fire Department.
The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will also see five per cent of all sales at the store go towards the Hamper Fund.
“This partnership is something that we’ve been doing at Red Apple for several years now,” store manager Josee McCoy said. “It’s really important for us and we want to do whatever we can to help folks in need at this time of the year.”
“You’ll see the firemen out there during the day with their boots and they’ll be stopping cars that are going by so they can just drop some money or whatever they have in there,” Watson added.
“We’re just so grateful to have so many nice people in town that help us out on a yearly basis.”
Watson — who has been involved with the Hamper Fund for 25 years — says one of the biggest needs each year is to find gifts that are a good fit for teenagers.
“Stuff like personal care items work great with that and we do a lot of homework with the parents to find out what the most important need is,” he added. “It could be something as simple as hats and socks.”
For those who want to help out the Hamper Fund and are unable to attend Saturday’s event at Red Apple, they can send a donation to P.O. Box 1365, Wawa, Ontario P0S 1K0 or an e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wawa Christmas Hamper Fund is a charitable organization and any donations of $20 or more will received a tax receipt.