The Christmas Hamper program begins when a family submits an application to CFAX Santas Anonymous. Our volunteers contact every family, speaking to the parents to find out what their kids want or need this year. Every request is then written onto a Santa Bear ornament, capturing each child’s specific Christmas Wish, and the Bears are distributed throughout Greater Victoria.
From late November to mid-December, our volunteers are at shopping centres throughout Victoria, along with a Tree of Wishes decorated with Santa Bears. Community members can look through the Bears until they find one that they want to fulfill. They sign out that the Bear, and then purchase the item that will fulfill the child’s Christmas Wish.
Donations typically range from $35-40, and should always be new, unused, and unwrapped. Community members are asked to return with their donations within 48 hours of selecting a Santa Bear (if possible), so that our volunteers can keep track of each and every one. As well, organizations will often contact us directly to request 25-30 bears for their employees.
As an example, a Santa Bear might include a request for a particular toy or a winter jacket. The community member who selects that Bear can donate the exact item, knowing it will go directly to a specific child in need.
The Santa Bears are supplemented by toy drives, fundraisers, and direct monetary donations provided by individuals and organizations in our community. These contributions enable us to handle the Bears that aren’t taken on by community members, and also to ensure that children who ask for clothing receive something fun in their hamper.
The Christmas Hampers are also reliant upon monetary donations, which go toward the food portion of the program. Thanks to funds secured through donations, third-party fundraisers, and the Miracle on Broad Street radio event, Santas Anonymous is able to buy bulk quantities of non-perishable food items, which are provided to families along with gift cards that they can use for refrigerated products (meat, vegetables, dairy, etc.). The food provided to a family of four typically costs $225, and will hopefully last for three weeks.
All of the toys, clothing, and food flow through “Santa’s Workshop”, where volunteers assemble each hamper, wrap the gifts, and prepare them for pickup or delivery ahead of the holidays. The attention to detail is crucial—volunteers prepare each hamper as if it were intended for members of their family.
CFAX Santas Anonymous is grateful to all of the people in our community who have made the Christmas Hamper program a success over the past three decades.
In addition to the funding and toys we receive through Santa Bears and direct donations, Santas Anonymous is supported by third-party fundraisers ranging from office toy drives to raffles and special offers from local businesses. Check out our Community Fundraisers to find out more about these important and beneficial initiatives.