The Paridon Horticultural warehouse in East Delta was a busy place last week.
Service club volunteers and other helpers set up shop there to put together over 600 food hampers for Deltassist's annual Christmas hamper program.
Hundreds of people lent a hand to sort and deliver the hampers, noted long-time volunteer organizer and Ladner Legion member George Koka.
Koka said local schools, with lots of work from students and teachers, donate plenty of food while volunteers purchase the rest.
Fellow Ladner Legion member Brian Rainbow, who has been involved with the hamper program for the last 20 years, is always happy to help out.
"It's a good experience. Every year I plan on doing it as long as I can," he said.
Rainbow, who started out by delivering hampers, said he saw how much the kids and their families enjoyed receiving the food for the holidays, adding that special treats like candy canes get put on the top.
"That just keeps you going every year. It's a good thing. Deltassist is great and the service clubs, we all chip in and work our buns off."
Food that doesn't get used for the hampers goes to local food banks and soup kitchens, he noted.
"We've heard of families whose cupboards are bare when the volunteers show up with a hamper," said Deltassist executive director Doug Sabourin. "Thanks to a lot of people donating food and money, we are able to give these families a little comfort at a special time of year."
Mike Hatfield, a member of the TOOBs service club, has been helping for eight years. He said when he started about 400 hampers were being put together. That number is now in the 600 range.
"There's a need in the community," he said.
Among the volunteers at the warehouse last week was a group from King's Links and King of Floors. They had brought 3,300 boxes of Kraft Dinner and distributed the food among the hampers.
"It's just such a great program we want to keep going," said King's Links' Neil Bidewell.
A group of students from Cliff Drive Elementary's Me to We Club was also helping last Wednesday by packing apples and sorting candy canes.
The students had undertaken food drives and a toy drive for the program but said it was cool to see how the hampers were actually put together.
HELP COMES IN MANY FORMS
Donations received from:
. Paridon Horticultural Ltd. (use of warehouse)
. Norampac (1,200 boxes)
. Schools that collected canned goods
. Bates Brothers (use of a five-ton truck)
. Lions Gate Fisheries (totes)
. Felix Farms, Bates Bros. Farm, Emma Lea Farms, Brent Kelly Farm, Rod Burr Farm, Rod Swenson Farms
Food purchased at cost from:
. Thrifty Foods
. Lyle Vidulich (apples)
Monetary donations from:
. Elks Club
. Ladner/Tsawwassen Kinsmen
. Ladner/Tsawwassen Kiwanis
. Ladner/Tsawwassen Legion
. Ladner/North Delta/Tsawwassen Boundary Bay/Scottsdale Lions
. Ladner/North Delta/Tsawwassen Rotary
. Ladies' Ladner Aux. Br. 61
. South Delta Baptist Church
. Tsawwassen United Church
10 to 12 cans of soup
10 cans of vegetables
4 cans of fruit
4 to 6 cans of fish
4 to 6 cans of pasta
1 can of cranberry jelly
10 lbs of potatoes
4 lbs of turnips
8 to 10 apples
1 large/2 small packs of dry pasta
10 boxes of Kraft Dinner
10 packs of dry noodles
1 box of cookies
1 carton of candy canes
2 loaves of bread
Pork and beans
* Extra large families receive additional food
* Families with infants receive baby food and formula