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Community comes together

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The Pas Family Resource Centre has once again held its annual Christmas Hamper drive this previous month, after collecting applications and fundraising over the radio they are now giving out hampers to the community today and tomorrow.
“It went really well, it was a great success, with all the money that was pledged on-air (the radio) it’ll probably be the best year we’ve ever had. We always get a ton of applications, the community comes out fills out the application and we do the best we can to get as much money as we can,” explained Daniel Laye, Program Manager at The Pas Family Resource Centre.
In comparison to other years Laye has worked it has been a great turnout in terms of applications as well as fundraising.
“It’s been a really good year, I think this is my third or fourth year this year I’ve been tasked with being in charge of everything. I feel this year was really, really exceptional,” Laye said.
One thing that Laye always gets excited for however is actually handing out the hampers to the families who need it.
“I absolutely look forward to those two days every year, it’s an amazing feeling everyone that comes in is so grateful, so happy and its very nice to be a part of something like that and to know that all our hard work is just paid off and we’re putting (together) a Christmas meal for a family in need this year,” he said, adding, “I look forward to those days every year, it puts you in the Christmas spirit.”
Looking forward to the future Laye said that even the smallest donations that you can give is going forward to a good cause.
“Anything helps, my big thing on the radio this year was I was targeting businesses; if you were at work and was listening, if there was five or six of you in the office and you all kicked in 10 bucks that’s 60 to 70 dollars. That’s enough realistically to put food on the table for one family. Every last bit helps,” said Laye.
The amount of hampers distributed is around 80, although a final estimate was still pending as of press time. The Pas Friendship Centre was also doing a toy drive for the children in the community and there were three locations where people could drop off toys, Ace Hardware, Home Hardware and Extra Foods. There was also a drop-off box after Friday’s Santa Claus Parade.
Today and tomorrow if you signed up to pick up a Christmas hamper from The Pas Family Resource Centre you can do so by picking it up at 103 Edwards Avenue between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
The Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) Recreation Department this holiday season also started its annual hamper program once again giving out Christmas hampers to people and families who need it the most on OCN. Distribution of the hampers started December 6.
The hampers and turkeys were either picked up at the OCN Veterans Hall or they were delivered to people’s homes.
“I had help with the OCN Recreation Department doing some deliveries and also the fire department. We got them to the elders first, and people who are on health and social (assistance) to get them their hampers and turkeys last week,” said Barney Monias, OCN Recreation Director last week.
Often for a lot of people it can be a struggle to put together a proper Christmas dinner, in addition to all the other costs of celebrating Christmas.
“They’re happy to get their turkeys, they’re happy they get to eat something. The people who can’t afford a turkey or hampers, they’re really happy to get something this time of year,” Monias said.
Each hamper comes with buns, oranges, potatoes, canned foods and other stuff that comes with a traditional Christmas turkey dinner.
Around 300 hampers were made and it wasn’t long before they were all given out to those who needed it the most and as of last week there were still some turkeys left. The remaining turkeys will go to different households on OCN.
“This time of year I noticed when people come here they really need these hampers so that they can have something to celebrate with families that are struggling,” he said.
From Monias’ perspective it is an excellent program that helps a lot of folks out, especially the ones who have large families.
“It’s great that OCN is doing this year in and year out, it’s great for families that really need it. They look forward to it this time of year, they can feed their family (and) some of them have lots of mouths to feed.”

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Trevor Wright
REPORTER
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