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Deltassist Christmas Hamper Program a huge community effort

Over 500 hampers delivered on Saturday as program returns following pandemic pause

Weeks of donations and endless volunteer hours have culminated with hundreds of low income families and seniors benefitting from the return of Deltassist’s Christmas Hamper Program.

After being halted for the past two years by the pandemic, the warehouses at Paridon Horticultural Ltd. in East Delta were buzzing again with activity last week resulting in more than 500 hampers being delivered on Saturday (Dec. 17) throughout the city.

Making it possible are the dedicated volunteers from various service clubs including the Ladner Legion and Ladies Auxiliary, TOOBs North Delta, Tsawwassen and Ladner Rotary clubs, Scottsdale, Boundary Bay-Tsawwassen and North Delta Lions, Kinsmen Club of Ladner/Tsawwassen and Deltassist.

Many of them have been giving up their time for years, including Bob Taggart who was coordinating about 20 or so volunteers when the Optimist dropped by the Paridon facility.

“You go to bed every night wondering what shifts we have and what we still need to do,” chuckled Taggart. “It is a lot of coordination, but in the end it’s all worth it knowing just how many we are helping.”

Taggart says the work starts in early October with donations arriving at the warehouse from local businesses while most of the canned goods are collected from school food drives. North Delta’s Delview Secondary was a huge contributor this year with more than 16,000 non-perishable items that were donated to Deltassist along with the Surrey Food Bank.

The biggest task for the volunteers is assembling more than 1,000 boxes that are generously donated by a company in Richmond. That takes a week alone and a special staple machine to put them all together. From that point they can start to be filled with two boxes per household and up to three for large families.

Longtime Delta farming families, such as Guichon, Bates and Kelly, donate potatoes, cabbage and turnips. By Saturday morning all the hampers have been completely packed and are ready for delivery with more than 100 volunteer drivers required.

Lions Gate Fisheries in Ladner loan out about 150 pallets so the hampers can be moved by forklift to the front door for the drivers.

“We’ve got smarter over the years and know some of the tricks and shortcuts now,” laughed Taggart.

At 72, he added there is plenty more years of giving back to his hometown.

“We have John MacDonald and a few other volunteers here who are 84-or-85 years-old and they show up here every day,” he said. “It’s pretty remarkable as they are bending over these (hamper) boxes for hours and they just keep on doing it.”

For more on the Deltassist Christmas programs visit: