Christmas basket fundraising fell short for Kiwanis Club

Volunteers assemble and load baskets of food for families at The Local Community Food Centre in this Beacon Herald file photo. Fundraising efforts fell a bit short this year but it's not expected to impact the Kiwanis Club of Stratford and its local radio station partner's annual program. Terry Bridge/Stratford Beacon Herald/Postmedia Network Terry Bridge / Terry Bridge/The Beacon Herald

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Fundraising fell a bit short this year for a local service club’s Christmas meal program.

But that won’t stop the Kiwanis Club of Stratford and its local radio station partner from providing baskets of food to local families in need of some assistance around the holidays.

Event chairperson Dave Evans said they raised about 90 per cent of this year’s goal, which was a shade over $30,000. There was no immediate impact, though, as each December’s program is funded through the previous year’s fundraising efforts.

“It’s not like all of a sudden we’re overdrawn at the bank or anything like that,” Evans said. “We were OK last year so we had enough to carry us through this year.”

Going forward they may have to cut a couple of extra goodies from the baskets, but they’ll still be full of all the main staples.

“We gave a little extra in this year’s baskets so we may just cut back on – oh maybe like the Christmas cakes that we gave out or something like that,” he said. “We’re good that way, it’ll be just some of the little frills that we cut back on.”

This year’s hampers contained everything required for a festive meal, including potatoes, onions, carrots, cookies, dessert, bread, and bags of apples and oranges. Qualified recipients, approved by the local Salvation Army or House of Blessing, received a gift certificate to buy a turkey, ham or chicken.

A total of 610 were assembled and shipped out this past month – 49 less than the year before.

“That’s a nice sign that things are better in Stratford than they were,” Evans said. “That’s a positive sign and hopefully things stay on that path.”

Dozens of people – from high school students to service club members to emergency responders – showed up on a wet Friday morning in late December to form an assembly line inside and out of The Local Community Food Centre.

“It is a great community project,” he said. “You get people that give money, that give their time, take baskets for delivery – it is just terrific, the whole city gets involved.”

This was year 41 overall.