PAGC to distribute 3,500 hampers to those in need this Christmas

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Volunteers with the PAGC were busy distributing hampers at the PAGC Christmas Hamper

The Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) expects to distribute 3,500 hampers for the less fortunate from the former site of the Allen Bird Gym on Monday and Tuesday.

PAGC Executive Director Al Ducharme said the PAGC wants to serve those in need during the holiday season, and hampers fill the biggest need.

“We recognize that they need help,” Ducharme said. “We work with these people all day—with the homeless, with the needy, with the poor and with those who are in need of help of many things in life.”
The idea began as a small distribution of items a decade ago. Since then, Ducharme said, the need has only grown.

“They really enjoy having … at least one good meal with them and with their family,” he explained. “We just decided that we would see how many people we could enlist to help us with this cause.

“We started out small—maybe around 200 to 250 hampers, people we knew who needed (support), and the numbers just grew,” he added.

Ducharme said between 25 and 30 people would be at the location from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on both Monday and Tuesday to distribute the hampers.

Other people and businesses also contributed to the hamper program included a trucking company from Leamington, Ontario that supply food to those in need in Prince Albert and other PAGC communities.

“We have semi trailers going out there, food as well, so we’re aware of the need and that the number of people that needed to be invested,” Ducharme said. “We have many companies here in town and some food stores that we get the food from.”

Ducharme said giving away hampers not only helps the community; it helps the volunteers too.

“We feel good at the end of the two days I tell you,” he said. “(There are) a lot of big smiles going through, as you can see as you’re standing here watching them go through.”

The list of volunteer includes children of PAGC staff and people who have worked with the PAGC in the past. The lineup of vehicles could handle two sets of cars at the same time.

The hamper provided a full meal. Volunteers also distributed boxes of apples and bags of potatoes.

“You get a Turkey and a ham and dry goods, and things like Libby’s beans and stuff. We’re talking name brands, so you know they’re going to enjoy food like you and I do,” Ducharme said.

Ducharme said that an act like this also reminds residents there are still many people in need in Prince Albert and area.