North Island Eagles siblings Ryan Cole

North Island Eagles siblings Ryan Cole

More needed this year than last

The North Island Gazette Hamper Fund is well short of the money it needs this year to help everyone who needs it

The 2011 demand for Christmas hampers is greater than it’s ever been and the North Island Gazette Hamper Fund is well short of the money it needs this year to help everyone who needs it.

“We need $30,000 to meet the need this year,” said Gazette publisher Sandy Grenier.

“Right now our donations are sitting at about $12,000 with more trickling in.”

Last year the fund helped 483 families and single people with food for the table and presents for children. This year 565 have applied, and more are coming.

“There seems to be a lot of people applying after the deadline, which was Nov. 25,” said Grenier, who noted so far nearly 50 people applied after the deadline. The Gazette does take late applications, but without a promise of a hamper.

“But we do what we can because we don’t want anyone to go without this Christmas,” said Grenier.

While numbers are indeed up — the number of people in need doubled in Alert Bay alone — so is the cost of groceries with some retailers telling us food costs have gone up as much as 10 per cent over last year.

However, some local artists have pitched in to help.

Seven artists from the North Vancouver Island Artists Society donated eight original pieces, all of which are up for grabs to the highest bidders.

All the art is on display at the Thunderbird Mall, across from the Dollar Store, and can be won during the silent auction. There are some truly stunning pieces available and bidding can be done at the mall, by email — publisher@northislandgazette.com  — or by telephone by calling Sandy at 250-949-6225.