Photo contributed Dec. 14/15 -Westshore Christmas Hamper Fund toy room volunteers (left to right) Shelby Avery

Photo contributed Dec. 14/15 -Westshore Christmas Hamper Fund toy room volunteers (left to right) Shelby Avery

Hamper program will feed hundreds in West Shore communities

Generosity on West Shore always amazes organizer

“It’s been pretty crazy,” said Gayle Ireland, president of the Westshore Christmas Hamper Fund, taking a moment to breathe this week.

While the last of the approximately 650 holiday food and gift hampers distributed under the annual program went out last Friday (Dec. 18), she was expecting a few more to be assembled and picked up in the days leading up to Christmas.

There’s always someone in need who misses the deadline due to unforeseen circumstances such as a stay in the hospital, an unexpected need, or as she said, “life bites you in the backside sometimes.”

But even with those last few unexpected care packages trickling out, Ireland called the 2015 campaign and hamper distribution process “the smoothest year ever.” It was not without a few minor glitches, but the volunteers really came together and knew what needed to be done, she said.

The number of hampers handed out was roughly the same as last year, Ireland said, and ranged in size based on the needs of the individual or families receiving them. “I think we did a lot of good and helped a lot of people.”

While donations seemed a little slow at first, she said, the generosity of the people on the West Shore always amazes her.

“The money always comes in,” she said. “We have tons of community support … we have a lot of groups donating … I’m proud of what we did (and) proud of the volunteers.”

katie@goldstreamgazette.com