The Prince George Salvation Army is seeing a record number of applications for its Christmas hampers this year.
Local corps officer and pastor Maj. Neil Wilkinson said the organization had received 418 applications for Christmas hampers as of Monday morning. There are still three more weeks for people in need to apply, he said, and typically the majority of applications come in the final weeks before Christmas.
“Last year, we had 398 applications at the end of the year. This year we are seeing a huge surge, we’ve already received over 400 applications,” Wilkinson said. “We are somewhat concerned about our ability to meet the demand.”
Wilkinson said the Salvation Army works with other local agencies providing Christmas hampers to spread out the demand, and weed out any duplicate applications.
Salvation Army personnel are hearing stories from families struggling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and rising food and housing costs.
Wilkinson said the best way for residents to help is to consider signing up the Adopt-a-Family program (www.sapg.ca/get-involved/adopt-a-family-registration). The deadline to register to adopt a family is Dec. 10.
The program pairs community donors with the needs of a specific family. The hampers are then delivered by the Salvation Army in partnership with the Rotary clubs of Prince George.
Those who don’t want to adopt a family can help by making donations online at https://ethrift.sapg.ca/product/make-a-donation/ or at one of the kettles located around town during the Salvation Army’s annual kettle campaign, Wilkinson added. Kettle volunteers are also needed and can sign up online at https://www.sapg.ca/get-involved/kettle-volunteer-form.