The program had its humble beginnings when Jacob and Ida Schurrman recognized the needs of a small group of individuals and families who were facing a shortage during the Christmas season. They started with just a few hampers and by 2007 had grown too large to continue operations at the former Cloverdale Christian Fellowship (CCF) building. In 2008, Jacob, Ida and Pastor Randy met with the staff at Pacific Community Church (PCC) in the hopes of partnering with them in using their unfinished warehouse for the hamper operations. PCC was happy to welcome the Hamper Program and continues to host and champion the program 9 years later.
Christmas is often thought of as a joyous and warm time, but we know that this is not true for many that live paycheque-to-paycheque or are unable to provide for their daily needs. Each year averages a give-away of approximately 250 - 300 hampers. This amounts to more than 50,000 pounds of food, personal and household items and toys each year. Hamper value is about $300 for a medium-sized family. Depending on donations each year, the program is able to set-up a "Toy Room" where families with children from birth to 12 years old are able to pick out at least one toy, Christmas gift and stocking stuffers for children. Youth (12-18) are provided with a small gift when possible, because donations for youth are not as ample in supply. We try hard to make sure every child in the family has something "under the tree". This is why the hamper program exists - to pass along some extra support and joy to those who may feel forgotten or lacking at Christmas time.
The Hamper Program has served thousands in the Cloverdale area and beyond with food, sundries, gifts, toys, hospitality, and community connection. The program happens because of over 200 volunteers from the community. Many churches, businesses, schools, organizations and invidivuals band together to raise funds, collect hamper items, donate supplies, warehousing and shopping equipment and think about how to best serve the needs of each person that receives a hamper on a Saturday before Christmas. This effort could not continue without the support of this community that cares.
We are looking forward to celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Cloverdale Christmas Hamper Program this year. This coming season will continue a legacy that was birthed in the hearts and minds of the Schurrman's, and others, and continues to serve a generous, growing community.
For a visual tour of what the early days were like watch the YouTube video below, supplied by Jacob Schurrman.