By Adopting a Local Family, You Become a Holiday Hamper Elf!
The Holiday Hamper Program makes a difference in the lives of Edmonton families in need. Participants become Hamper Elves by adopting a local family – then shopping for a healthy festive meal and small gifts for the kids.
On Delivery Day, Hamper Elves come to the Expo Centre to receive turkeys, fresh produce, and their adopted family’s address from our team of volunteers. Then they are off to deliver joy to families in need in our community.
In 2019, the program officially became its own charity, which allows for tax-deductible donations. With the ongoing support of JCI Edmonton and community partners, the Holiday Hamper Program looks to provide support to 1,000 families! This would not be possible without the support of generous Edmontonians like you.
How the Program Works
Each year, a team of volunteers helps coordinate the Holiday Hamper Program. We partner with Edmonton Public and Catholic Schools, as well as the Christmas Bureau, to source families that are in need of support during the holiday season. Once the families have been identified by the schools and cross-referenced with the Christmas Bureau, members of the community sign up to adopt a family and become Hamper Elves.
In the first week of December, the adopted family information is assigned and distributed – and it's time for the Hamper Elves to go shopping! The Holiday Hamper Committee fundraises throughout the year to provide the turkeys and roasting pans for each hamper, while the Elves provide the gifts and groceries to complete it.
Delivery Day happens at least one week prior to December 25. Any undeliverable hampers are distributed to participant schools through on-site school reps or taken to Sacred Heart Church in inner-city Edmonton. Nothing is wasted!
Over 20 Years of Special Memories
In 2003, an Edmonton teacher and JCI Edmonton member brought the idea of the Holiday Hamper Program to JCI Edmonton. In her role as a social worker with the school, she saw firsthand how her students and their families struggled throughout the year, especially through the holiday season. She wanted to make their seasons a little brighter by providing the families with healthy meals and ensuring that the kids had gifts to open. She saw a need for a program that could bring joy to kids and their families – an annual tradition was born!
Since then, the Holiday Hamper Program has grown exponentially and has become a cornerstone of Edmonton's philanthropic community. The program started with one school and 13 families. Last year, 60 partner schools helped provide Christmas meals and gifts to over 1,400 families in Edmonton.
In 2017, The Holiday Hamper Program began focusing on a sustainable approach to food security. With this mindset, the "Healthy Hampers" initiative was born.
With the help of our partners at Get Joyfull, the Health Hampers Initiative is determined to help families find healthy and inexpensive foods. It also provides ideas for recipes, groceries, and alternatives.
JCI Edmonton is the Holiday Hamper Program's founding organization. JCI stands for Junior Chamber International – a global group of young leaders dedicated to creating positive change in themselves and their communities.
The Edmonton chapter of JCI has been making a difference since 1929 and has helped create many important community programs, including Junior Achievement and Boots on the Ground.