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Marked increase in toy hamper applications

Posted on December 16, 2021 by Maple Creek
Spirit of giving: Cornelius and Heidi Beveridge worked tirelessly on Christmas hampers throughout Tuesday.

As Maple Creek prepares for another Christmas during COVID-19, many families are finding it harder than ever to make ends meet. The Salvation Army says toy hamper applications are far above normal levels.
As of December 14, about 150 had been received.
The need for food assistance is also strong.
So far, 90 food hamper applications have been submitted, with more expected.
“We usually top up around 86,” said Major Charlotte Dean.
On Tuesday, Salvation Army Church in #203 Maple Street was bustling with activity as volunteers Cornelius and Heidi Beveridge worked through the day, putting together the Christmas hampers.
It was a mammoth task.
At 5.30pm., a group from Maple Creek Multiple 4-H Club also joined the effort.
Four adults and seven club members were immediately put to work by Major Ed Dean. Among their tasks were weighing potatoes and carrots.
After completing their assignments, they enjoyed a pizza.
“Our members really love coming here, and giving back to the community,” said Club leader Kathryn Bohnet.
Major Ed was grateful for the support, pointing out that the Multiple 4-H Club had been helping out over Christmas for 15 years, except in COVID-affected 2020.
Hamper Pick-up Days were Wednesday, December 15 for families with children, and Thursday, December 16 for adults. Pick-up times were 10am-1pm, or 4-6pm.
Those still needing toys and food are asked to call 306-662-3871. The Salvation Army has pledged to continue giving as long as it is able.
Speaking last Friday, Major Charlotte said an initial shortage of toys had been overcome, thanks largely to donors, the Bargain Shop toy drive, and The Salvation Army’s Swift Current branch.
“They gave some toys to us, which was nice because we had given some to Swift Current a couple of years ago. We gave some of our surplus. That’s what we do. We try to help each other out.”
Major Ed expressed gratitude to Swift Current Salvation Army.
“We are very grateful to our partners, our other organization in Swift Current, who gave us a bunch of toys. We will try to serve every child.”
Major Charlotte said the plan was to give each child (up to the age of 16) one big and one medium-sized toy, as well as two smaller ones.
“I think we are doing okay now,” he said. “On top of those 131 kids, we also provide for grandparents.
“We take some of the smaller items not necessarily chosen by the parents and put those out, so grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles can also get a small thing for each of their grandchildren. Because they also don’t have money to go Christmas shopping.”
Asked why families were finding it harder this year, Major Charlotte pointed to rising food and fuel prices, higher inflation, and the psychological impact of COVID.
“COVID has made us feel like the world has stopped,” she said. “We remember what everything was like pre-COVID, including prices.
“These are just my thoughts on it. The world seemed to stop for a couple of years, and we almost expect prices to hold at a standstill.”
Major Charlotte said multiple factors were behind food price increases, including floods, droughts and other climate change-related issues.
“It’s all about supply and demand.”
As ever, the food bank is a key part of The Salvation Army’s Christmas operation.
With the holiday season seeing a rise in demand, supplies will be depleted. “The food bank will be low after Christmas,” said Major Charlotte. “Even after Christmas Hamper Day, we will be doing regular food hampers up to December 23. Christmas is a bonus hamper to get people through the holiday. We will then resume hampers right away after the holiday.”
The work of The Salvation Army is never done.

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