Hampers delivered in Winkler

Winkler Flyers helped load hampers on Dec. 12 in Winkler. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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The Winkler & District Christmas Cheer Board saw close to a 14 per cent increase in hampers this year, going up about 50 from last year’s total to 395.
Despite the higher numbers, President Francis Fehr said the delivery day Dec. 12 and the work leading up to it went without a hitch.
“It was a tremendous evening,” he said of the delivery day. “It was a great turnout.”
Fehr said he suspects the mild temperatures played a role in the amount of drivers who were lined up willing to deliver.
“It was definitely wonderful to see,” he said.
Fehr said they had up to 25 volunteers every day for wrapping as well as the many who showed up to deliver.
Fehr has been involved with the Christmas Cheer Board for eight years, something he got involved in when he ran the Winkler Co-op Food Store. He said it’s the people in the organization and the common cause they share that has kept him involved.
“There’s really, really great people there and they come from all walks of life,” he said. “All of them are more than qualified to run the (board) and we work together very well.”
Addressing a very clear need is also something that’s fulfilling. Fehr said he saw first hand on one of his deliveries how much the board is appreciated.
“I had one lady hug me, and she showed me her fridge and it was empty,” Fehr said. “Those kinds of stories hit hard. This is why we do what we do.”
Fundraising is still ongoing, but Fehr said he quickly learned to stop worrying whether their bills would get paid.
“I realized after the first year or two (on the board) it’s going to get looked after,” he said.
Fehr said they seem to end up with exactly what’s needed.
“Blessed, fortunate, call it what you want,” he said. “With this community if we ask for something or there’s a need, people offer it up and say ‘no problem, do you need anything else’?”
“That’s something that not a lot of communities can say they get,” he added.
Local business has been a big help, doing things like giving free or discounted items for gifts and hampers, to making boxes or even setting up tables.
“We have stores that help us shop during summer so we can buy toys and gifts at their cost, when they buy their Christmas product,” he said.
Fehr had a message for all who helped out.
“Without you… we couldn’t do what we do,” he said.

Winkler & District Christmas Cheer Board President Francis Fehr prepares to load another vehicle on hamper delivery day, Dec. 12, 2018. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Winkler Flyers helped load hampers on Dec. 12 in Winkler. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)