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Hundreds of hampers spreading holiday cheer in the Comox Valley


More than 500 households in the Comox Valley received a fresh supply of food and gifts Wednesday morning as part of an annual Christmas hamper campaign.

“The camaraderie is fantastic," says Brenda Latta, who has volunteered with the annual hamper drive for the past eight years.

"We are also in the stage of our life where we have the time and the joy to do so."

 She’s part of the volunteer team that includes her husband, Steve Latta.

“There is a core of us of about 20 or 25," he says. "We have a bunch of volunteers that show up that have done this in the past on this specific day, so they kind of know what they have to do."

The annual appeal began back in the 1980s in a private home and then expanded to warehouses under a pair of realtors.

"Brent and Donna Cunliffe did a fantastic job but they were realtors at the same time and they found it hard," says lead volunteer Ken Jones. "The first year, my wife and I, we volunteered and we helped in the warehouse and at the end of that year Brent said to me, ‘Ken, I would like you to run it from now on.'"

Jones says preparations for the hampers begins in September and includes community support by businesses like Canadian Tire, which offers up reusable totes on a two-for-one basis, as well as schools that collect many of the donated food items.

Jones says 556 hampers were distributed this year and that’s about the maximum the volunteers can handle.

“It’s about where we really want to be," he says.

The COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on volunteers assembling the hampers, according to Brenda. But she says the group has rebounded.

"Almost everyone is back now,” she says. Top Stories


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