Over 500 Central Lambton families receive Christmas help this year

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FILE PHOTO Volunteers pack boxes for Christmas for Everyone in 2016

Blake Ellis/Local Journalism Initiative

Local volunteer fire fighters will be making several visits to homes in Lambton County this week, not because there is an emergency, but to make sure families have a good Christmas celebration this year.

Sandra Hartman, manager of the Petrolia Food Bank, which oversees Christmas for Everyone, has seen an increase in need this year with 21 families more families receiving hampers over last year. 

There were just over 400 families, which received hampers in 2021. 

Even though there is an increase in need, she has seen a decrease in donations, getting one third less of what is normally received. “There is a lot of juggling,” said Hartman. In anticipation of demand exceeding donations, she has shopped all year long for the program. 

Each hamper has 36 items, including fresh cheese, eggs and bread. There are other staples, such as peanut butter, jams and soup. Gift cards are also provided so families can buy a turkey or a ham. There are also gifts for the children, as she estimated about 400 children among all of the families receiving hampers. 

Christmas for Everyone delivers to hamper to families everywhere in rural Lambton County, except for St. Clair Township. 

In the north of St. Clair Township, the Optimist Club of Moore has Operation Christmas Tree underway with hampers going out to 106 families. Among those families are 152 adults and 121 children, said Stan Marsh, president of the board of directors of Operation Christmas Tree.

Marsh said donations have been very good, as the local community supports the program each year. 

“We never know how much we are going to get,” said Marsh. “We do our best to get it all out to families who need it.” 

Operation Christmas Tree provides gift cards, toys, books and clothing, all matched to the children’s ages. All food donated to redirected to the local food bank. Operation Christmas Tree came under the direction of the Optimist Club of Moore in 1989. Prior to this, the Corunna Post Office employees ran it.

Fifteen fire departments will be delivering Christmas for Everyone hampers on Thursday, while the Operation Christmas Tree the Corunna, Brigden and Courtright fire departments will distribute hampers to families on Saturday. 

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