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Smaller facility not stopping local cheer board from providing holiday support

Photos from the Christmas Cheer Board of Winnipeg Facebook

The holiday season can be stressful, exasperated more if you have financial struggles. Since the pandemic’s start, more are facing economic challenges.

Every year, the Christmas Cheer Board of Winnipeg provides 17 thousand food hampers to those in need in Winnipeg. For those living paycheck to paycheck, you may be in the middle of the month when that money has already gone as far as it can go, having to work on the holidays without the luxury of spending time with friends and family.

“The Cheer Board has been doing this for a long time. What it comes down to is we know over the holidays there is a lot of pressure put on families, not just for food, but give them the essentials they need,” says Christmas Cheer Board of Winnipeg Executive Director Shawna Bell. ” Take a little of the pressure off, ease it, and that’s where the cheer board steps in.”

Once again, the cheer board will be providing vouchers due to health concerns. The vouchers can be redeemed for pantry and produce foods and toys for children. Toys can make a child feel incredibly special, says Bell, items the cheer board always has in short supply, especially for 10 to 14-year-olds as they can be rather challenging to find something they enjoy.

“Any toys we can receive as donations for that age group for that age group would be tremendously appreciated.”

As the countdown for Christmas Day continues to approach, the cheer board operates seven days a week, which can be a slight challenge as they had to move to a smaller facility. According to Bell, the smaller facility is something to adjust to, going from 40 thousand to 14 thousand square feet. With 50 volunteers helping get hampers in order, it can get a bit crowded, but the drive to ensure those in the community are taken care of and know the citizens of Winnipeg are thinking of them makes everything worth it.

The cheer board is now looking for volunteer drivers to get these needed packages and hampers out into the community.

“Of course, donations are never far from our mind, but if we can get some help getting those packages out, that would be ideal,” says Bell. “One thing I’ve learned about Winnipeg over my life, when there’s a need in the community, we all rally together to support. We really look forward to helping and lifting others, and we couldn’t do that without the support we get from Winnipeg.”

If you are looking to apply for a hamper, there are two ways, both confidential. One through the Employment Income Assistance phone system at 204-948-2022 with your case number, you can also call the cheer board at 204- 989-5683 and provide you health number to get the application up and running.

More details on hampers and opportunities to support the Winnipeg community can be found on the Christmas Cheer Board of Winnipeg website.

– Ryan Funk, U Multicultural

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