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Salvation Army launches hamper drive in Northumberland

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today

Cobourg Salvation Army Capt. Carolyn Simpson is seen with volunteer John Hall at the Cobourg church's stuffing bee on Nov. 1, 2017. Dozens of others showed up to help stuff envelope's for the church's annual appeal that makes Christmas hampers and a number of ot her community services possible. CECILIA NASMITH/NORTHUMBERLAND TODAY/POSTMEDIA NETWORK

Cobourg Salvation Army Capt. Carolyn Simpson is seen with volunteer John Hall at the Cobourg church's stuffing bee on Nov. 1, 2017. Dozens of others showed up to help stuff envelope's for the church's annual appeal that makes Christmas hampers and a number of ot her community services possible. CECILIA NASMITH/NORTHUMBERLAND TODAY/POSTMEDIA NETWORK

NORTHUMBERLAND -- Dozens of volunteers reported for duty at the Cobourg Salvation Army church the day after Halloween to stuff the 24,000 envelopes that will ensure the church's annual appeal gets out.

Capt. Michael Simpson said their goal is to raise $150,000 to make possible not only the Christmas hampers that brightened the holidays for 783 families last year (a number which included 1,874 individuals, 765 of whom were children) but also a host of year-round services -- food banks, summer camps, partnerships with health and education services, and emergency services for health needs, basic necessities and disaster relief.

Simpson added that they also have a $105,000 goal for the Christmas kettle campaign that will begin Nov. 21 and run through Dec. 23.

"Our goal for kettles in the past has been $100,000," he said.

"Last year we brought in $109,000 and thought, 'This year let's pump that up and have faith the community will rally around.'"

The busy stuffers were church members, members of the Inner Wheel group and other supporters. They began their work mid-afternoon, with holiday music supplied by Port Hope Community and Family Services manager Lisa Graham and dinner arranged for a 6 p.m. break.

Graham knows all the steps involved in a mailing of this size, from getting the letters printed to delivering appropriately bundled stuffed envelopes to the post office. She's been volunteering for this task for years, and has been co-ordinating it for eight years. The effort has streamlined from being the work of a few days to taking a single marathon afternoon they all refer to as a stuffing party.

The letters are timed to arrive close to the start of the kettle campaign, she said, so it will be fresh in people's minds.

Simpson's wife, Capt. Carolyn Simpson, has sent another kind of appeal letter to the service clubs, businesses and schools who are always so generous. She's already heard back about some of their plans, like George's Fish and Chips who hope to collect 150 items for Canada 150.

It's a campaign beautifully co-ordinated with agencies throughout the county. For example, any donations of toys they get go to the Giving Tree program, which will be set up at Northumberland Mall Nov. 13 to Dec. 3.

Simpson's letter asks for all donations to be in by Dec. 8, as the packing of the hampers begins the week of Dec. 11.

It also supplies a list of food items they need the most -- canned fruits and vegetables, coffee and tea, flour and sugar, rice and pasta, pasta sauce, syrup and pancake mix, canned stew and meat, canned soup and beans, cereal, mayonnaise, pickles and salad dressing, cookies, cake and muffin mixes, juice and juice boxes, Christmas candy and chocolate with no nuts, and school-lunchbox items that are peanut-free.

Community and Family Services director Dave Alexander supplied a list of times, locations and deadlines to apply to receive Christmas hampers.
 

  • For residents of Cobourg, Camborne, Cold Springs, Plainville, Gore's Landing, Harwood, Roseneath, Baltimore, Centreton, Grafton and Hamilton Township -- Apply at the Cobourg Community and Family Services office at 66 Swayne St. (905-373-9440). Hours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon, with special evening hours of 6 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 7 and 21. The deadline is Dec. 1.
  • For residents of Colborne and Castleton - Apply at the Colborne Legion, 92 King St. E. (905-355-2680). Hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m. through Nov. 30.
  • For residents of Brighton -- Apply at the Salvation Army's Trenton Community and Family Services office. Call (613) 392-9905 to make an appointment.
  • For residents of Campbellford, Hastings and Warkworth -- Apply at the Community and Family Services office (1-705-653-4185) or St. John's United Church (1-705-653-2283. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 1 to 3 and Nov. 6 to 10.
  • "¢ Residents of Port Hope, Welcome, Canton, Perrytown, Elizabethville, Campbellcroft and Garden Hill have two options. One is to apply at the Fare Share food bank at 34 South St. (905-885-6674) from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays in November. The other is at the Port Hope Community and Family Services office at 100 Peter St. (905-885-2323), where hours are 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Fridays. He deadline is Dec. 1.


Applicants can apply at only one location, and should bring proof of address and income, as well as proof of identity for each member of the household.

Graham said that meeting their campaign goals is vital. Otherwise, they will have to rebudget all their programs.

Christmas hamper organizers are hoping everyone will respond to the mailed appeal and look out for the Christmas kettles. The annual celebrity kettle day is planned in December, with more details to come.

Kettle campaign chair Raelynn Joseph added her own wish.

'What is going to make this a success in meeting our goal is volunteer support from the community," Joseph said.

"You can never have enough volunteers," she stated.

"Many hands make light work. The more volunteers we have, the easier it will be -- and it's a great cause."

Joseph is delighted with what she has seen so far on that front, with people approaching her to help out just because it's that time of year. She also mentioned a gentleman who has signed up for a two-hour shift every day of the campaign.

If you can help, Joseph hopes you will contact her at 905-372-3832 ext. 25 or raelynn_joseph@can.salvationarmy.org.

cnasmith@postmedia.com

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