Rossland Fire Department continues longstanding hamper drive tradition

Allyson Kenning
By Allyson Kenning
December 8th, 2010

‘Tis the Season! With the revving up of Christmas activity in town, you might have noticed colourful boxes hanging around various local businesses, wrapped in festive paper and sporting a sign identifying the boxes as donation points for the Rossland Fire Department’s annual Christmas hamper drive.


As mentioned in the Telegraph’s recent food bank story here, though it might not always be obvious, we in the Mountain Kingdom have neighbours who, for whatever reason, have bare pantries in need of some seasonal stocking up. Enter our local fire heroes, who this year are continuing their longstanding tradition of giving to the community by putting together hampers for those very neighbours.  Donation points in town include Ferraro Foods, Jelly Bean Junction, People’s Drug Mart, Pro Hardware, Nelson & District Credit Union, and both RSS and Maclean Elementary. In addition to the fire department, the United Way and the Rossland Ambulance Service also contribute to this effort. Residents are encouraged to drop off non-perishable food items only, in the boxes provided. Additional items for the hampers are purchased by the fire department at Ferraro’s.  “We have excellent community support,” says Chief Gerry Woodhouse, who has been participating in this drive for over ten years. “We usually have about 25 families we deliver to each year, and they get about three to four boxes of stuff, including a ham or turkey, depending on what they choose on the form.”  Families who need Christmas hampers must apply to have them delivered to their homes. Forms are available from the Rossland Food Bank and the Rossland and Trail fire halls: families can choose to have the ham or turkey included in their hamper. Forms must be submitted to one of these locations by December 12th, and the donations will be picked up from the drop-off points on December 13th.  After collection, fire department staff organize the donations and put the hampers together, which include toys, many of which were donated via the West Kootenay Toy Run in September. Some are purchased, but Chief Woodhouse emphasizes that toy donations are discouraged from being dropped in the donation boxes. “We get so many toys it’s not even funny,” he says. “We could probably fill a whole ambulance bay with toys!”  Distribution of the hampers to families happens December 18th, and Woodhouse says that families should have their boxes by 1:00 PM.  He also wants people to know that if a family is receiving a hamper and cannot be around that Saturday morning for delivery, it would be greatly appreciated if they could contact the fire department to let them know where to put the hamper. Recipients can call Chief Woodhouse himself at 368-1718, Terry Martin at 231-0877, or Derrek Wolfe at 364-8304 to arrange this.  In our longstanding tradition of being a generous community, please consider helping a family stock its pantry a little this Christmas season.

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