PORT McNEILL—The Gazette Hamper Fund is in its 33rd year of helping needy North Island families and individuals with meals and toys at Christmas time.
The Port McNeill Lions Club did its own part to provide a traditional holiday meal Saturday with its annual Turkey Bingo event, which awarded frozen turkeys to bingo winners who contributed to the hamper fund with both food donations and their bingo card fees.
By the time the proceeds were tallied, the Lions were able to donate more than $500 to the Hamper Fund, aided in part by the overwhelming turnout for the event.
“The crowd was bigger than normal,” said Pierre Le Gal of the Port McNeill Lions. “Last year we had 70 or 75 people, at best. This year we had a least 85. It was a pretty good turnout.”
The North Island Eagles atom development hockey team followed in the footsteps of the rep program’s big guys Saturday, providing several boxes and bags of toys and non-perishable food items to the Hamper Fund after its series of December hockey games at North Island arenas.
The Eagles players each brought in a toy and invited both fans and visiting teams to donate food or toys.
The Comox Chiefs obliged with several donations Saturday in Port McNeill, and two weeks earlier in Port Alice the Sooke Thunderbirds did the same — and helped out the local economy, to boot.
“Some of the Sooke parents went out and bought things to donate to the Hamper Fund,” atoms manager Melanie Gage said. “They said they forgot we were doing the Hamper drive, but still wanted to help.”
The staff of Eagle View Elementary School also contributed to the fund, forgoing its traditional holiday gifts and instead turning over $200 to the Hamper Fund this week.
Hampers will be delivered Saturday, mostly in the late morning and early afternoon. Recipients who have applied for hampers are reminded they need to be home at the time of delivery to receive a hamper.