Manitobans stepping up Christmas hamper offerings amid pandemic
WINNIPEG -- With the Christmas Cheer Board suspending its operations amid Code Red restrictions, a number of Manitobans are stepping up to make sure everyone has a holiday to remember.
“We are building Christmas hampers for some families who have no access to anything else,” said Nicole Jung, who is putting together the hampers through the group ‘Transcona and Prouder of It.’
“With the Christmas Cheer Board not being active right now, it’s made everything much more strenuous.”
Jung said she’s always put together three or four Christmas hampers with her children, but this year, since the need is so great, she decided to get a group involved.
“The donations have been fabulous and we’re just all going to do it together,” she said.
Diana Kessler-Kochi has been putting together hampers for five years for a local parenting group ‘Parents of Winnipeg & Surrounding Areas.’ The hampers go to families that don’t qualify for the cheer board hampers.
She said children deserve to have a Christmas every year and families deserve to have a nice meal, but this year families are going through even more hardships due to the pandemic.
“I think Christmas is something everybody deserves to celebrate in some way shape or form,” she said. “This year especially, it’s been really hard for a lot of families.”
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO GIVE BACK
Jung said even though Christmas isn’t about gifts, every parent wants to give their child a good Christmas.
“Every parent wants to see that happy little face on Christmas morning, and so many of these children, if they don’t get the help, won’t have anything to unwrap,” she said.
“Then they’re going to school and hearing all their friends talk about the new tablet they got or the new game system or the new game or whatever it is, and they sit back and they didn’t get anything, or a pair of socks and some underwear, things that they needed, because it’s all their family could afford.”
She added that though public health restrictions could mean that people won’t get to be with their entire families for the holidays, everyone still deserves a Christmas meal.
Kessler-Kochi said she enjoys giving back to the community.
She noted a few years ago she had a house fire and during this time the parenting group banded together and really helped her family.
“Every year I just want to repay that community back,” she said.
HOW CAN MANITOBANS HELP
Both Jung and Kessler-Kochi said they are looking for non-perishable food items, foods that can be eaten at Christmas dinner, gifts, as well as monetary donations.
To donate to Jung, you can email her at email@example.com or through the Facebook group ‘Transcona and Prouder of It.’
To donate directly to Kessler-Kochi, you can contact her through the ‘Parents of Winnipeg and Surrounding Areas’ Facebook group or contact her at 204-471-9836. She said some of the items they struggle to get the most are toys for kids in the age range of 10 to 17.
“It would be so beautiful to see the whole of Manitoba just come together and do this,” Jung said.
“No concern about why they have to supply someone else with a Christmas, just do it. This year is tough, let’s just all do it.”