The reality of the current economic climate means demand for Christmas hampers is up, and donations are down in Sooke.
“We’re at about 360 hampers so far, which is up significantly from the 310 hampers we did last year,” said Ben Molesky, who co-chairs the Sooke Christmas Bureau with Mike Thomas.
“We’re seeing more families than individual requests, making larger hampers. The population of Sooke is up, and we’re seeing more working poor, people who aren’t making enough at their jobs to cover their food, bills and increases in the cost of living.”
Donations are down at kettles so far this year, so Molesky said he’s hopeful the Sooke Firefighters Association’s annual Santa Run meets or exceeds its goal of $56,000.
Four decorated Sooke Fire Rescue trucks will collect cash donations in neighbourhoods throughout Sooke on Saturday (Dec. 10), starting at 5 p.m.
“We introduced a tap program this year, making it easier for people to donate,” Molesky said. “We can stretch every dollar we get further when purchasing wholesale. Village Food Markets and Western Foods really help us out a lot as well.
“Sooke’s donations per capita are usually way better than most areas, and our volunteers always go the extra mile, especially at this time of the year.”