Fewer than three weeks remain until Christmas hampers are delivered to needy North Island families, and local residents are sinking their talons into the cause on an almost daily basis.
The North Island Eagles hockey program renewed its long-running support of the Gazette Hamper Fund this week, announcing each of its home games in December would serve as benefits for the fund.
The Eagles peewees kicked things off last Sunday against Campbell River, with both local players and visiting Tyees contributing non-perishable food items and toys to the fund. More hamper benefit games are planned for the next couple of weekends in Port Alice, Port Hardy and Port McNeill across all divisions.
The centrepiece will be the third annual Alumni Hamper Game, pitting current Eagles midgets against an assemblage of former Eagles standouts, at 7 p.m. this Sunday, Dec. 8, at Chilton Regional Arena.
Players and fans alike are encouraged to bring a donation of a food item or toy to contribute to the hampers, which will be distributed Dec. 20.
While turnout was lighter than hoped, the food and entertainment both drew rave reviews as Providence Place hosted a Taste of the World multi-cultural food-tasting event Saturday in Port Hardy.
The event, which featured eight food courses and entertainment ranging from Highland dance to First Nations singing and drumming, raised $500 for the Hamper Fund, and organizers hope they can build on the event to draw even more participants next year.
A&W Restaurant in Port Hardy will do its part for the Hamper Fund Saturday, contributing $1 for each Teen burger sold that day to the Hamper Fund.
Horses for hampers
Members of the North Island’s Reinforest Riders equestrian club will hold a Christmas Toy Ride to benefit the Gazette Hamper Fund, in Port McNeill Thurs., Dec. 12.
Riders will assemble in the Lions Club parking lot to ride out at 6:30 p.m. The group will be riding through town collecting donations of toys, non-perishable food and cash for the Hamper Fund.
The route will traverse Woodland Dr., Haddington Cres., Quatsino Cres., Bayview Dr., Cypress St., Cedar St. by the A-Frame Church and Broughton Blvd. before arriving at the Gate House Community Theatre approximately 7:30 p.m.
“Hot chocolate will be served at the theatre for anyone who would like to come down and join us, drop off a donation or just check out our seasonally decorated horses,” organizer Leanne Jones said.
At approximately 8 p.m. the riders will resume their trip up Pioneer Hill Rd. to Chelohsin Cr, Cassiar Pl. and back to the Lions Hall.
Club members will be handing out candy along the way and will have support vehicles following to collect donations along the way.
“We hope you can come out, support this cause and help us put a smile on someone’s face on Christmas morning!” said Jones.
Cash for cans
The Port Hardy Return-it Centre is once again offering North Islanders an opportunity to contribute to the Hamper Fund by donating their can and bottle returns to the fund.
Just inform staff at the time of your return that you wish to donate part or all of the amount to the Hamper Fund. Through last weekend, the Return-it Centre had already received nearly $2,000 in donations.