Christmas hampers

The West Prince Christmas Hampers Group is collecting toiletry items that will be used to create toiletry kits for this year’s Christmas hampers. The group is refining the intitative it began last year by making the kits more personalized. In photo: Mike Zita, with the Elmsdale Church of the Nazarene; Rev. Bethe Benjamin Cameron, with the O’Leary West Cape Pastoral Charge and Corina Bolo, with The West Prince Caring Cupboard and spokesperson for the WPCHG. Melissa Heald photo

The West Prince Christmas Hampers Group (WPCHG) is ramping up for the holiday season.

With a newly designed logo to help bring more visiblity to the group, this is the third year the WPCHG will be involved with the Christmas hampers in West Prince.

In 2017, six groups, in coordination with the Salvation Army in Summerside, the CBC Turkey Drive, the Elmsdale Church of the Nazarene, West Prince Family Violence Prevention and the West Prince Caring Cupboard, banded together to coordinate the distribution of Christmas hampers in the western end of the Island.

Corina Bolo, spokesperson for the group, said last year saw better coordination among the different groups that make up the WPCHG, with a focus on the coordination of donations of turkeys and vegetables.

“That way producers, who were generous in their donations, were only being approached one time instead of by several different groups,” said Ms Bolo.

The group gave away 270 hampers last year, with an aim to reach 300 hampers this holiday season.

While the dates for when families can apply for a hamper and the distribution dates of those hampers are still being finalized, the group is expanding on an initiative from last year, which was preparing toiletry kits.

Right now, the group is getting the word out on a toiletry drive.

For this Christmas hamper season, the group is refining their toiletry bag idea by the making the kits more personalized than just creating one genertic bag. Meaning, the group are looking to create individual toilery kits for women, men and children. Their goal is to make 200 men’s, 200 women’s and 200 children’s toiletries bags for their 2019 Christmas Hamper Distribution.

“We are trying to make them uniform,” said Mike Zita, with the Elmsdale Church of the Nazarene. “Last year they were all different sizes.”

There are two ways to participate in the toiletry drive, either by making up one gallon Ziplock bags with specific toilery items or making a financial donation.

“We have a number of groups or individuals who are either donating items or filling the bags themselves,” said Ms Bolo.

Completed toiletry kits can be dropped off at the Elmsdale Church of the Nazarene or the O’Leary Untied Church. The deadline for completed toiletry kits is Nov. 15.

For more information on the specific items for the individual toilery bags or how to make a finacial donation contact the WPCHG at

Last year, the WPCHG received around 200 new books from the PEI Literacy Alliance. The organziaition will be donating books again that will be placed in the hampers.

“That was wonderful addition to the hampers,” said Ms Bolo. “And again, they (the literacy alliance) were glad they had one contact so they knew it was getting to the right people.”

Another new initiative the group is working on is putting a new smoke detector in as many hampers as they can.

“We ran that by some local fire department officials and we got a very positive response,” said Ms Bolo. “Obviously they are looking at prevention. One of the fire officials said an extra smoke detector in a house, or an apartment, doesn’t hurt and for the people who don’t have them they are quite an expense.”

Ms Bolo said look for the WPCHG at the Westisle Christmas Market where they will have a table set up for donations and anyone looking for information on the group.

Almeda Marie Thibodeau with the Bloomfield Area Christmas Hampers said the WPCHG helps elimate the possiblity of duplication.

“This way it allows us to make sure people don’t get missed and there’s a good amount that goes into each hamper,” added Ms Bolo.

For those involved in the WPCHG they say all their hard work is well worth it.

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