It’s been a busy holiday season for Moose Jaw’s Salvation Army, as all their Christmas fundraising campaigns are off and running.  

One of their Christmas programs that wraps up on Wednesday is their Christmas hampers, which helps families in need this holiday season.  

The application process for the hampers began in mid-November and wrapped up on Dec. 2, leading into the interview process. This allowed the Salvation Army to figure out exactly how many hampers are needed within the community.  

Director of Community and Family Services for the Salvation Army, Lt. Lester Ward says that the hamper process is split up into two parts.  

The first part is allowing families to pick out their children’s gifts at the Salvation Army’s toy shop located at 2 Wintergreen Drive.  

“They’re given a ticket, which gives them a date and time which would’ve been yesterday (Monday), today (Tuesday), or tomorrow (Wednesday) and they would come to the church,” says Lt.Ward. “A volunteer shopper would be there to meet them and they would go through Santa’s toy shop. The mom or the dad would have the flexibility and the options to select the toys that best suit their children based on their age group.” 

Ward adds that Santa’s toy shop is comprised of child-suitable donations made throughout the year.  

“We have the Motorcycle Toy Run in Moose Jaw and Assiniboia in August and September. We have the Canadian Tire Toy Days, which is in partnership with Golden West Radio. Also, the Moose Jaw Warriors Teddy Bear and Toque Toss. All throughout the year, we have individuals who drop by and either make monetary donations that will go through supporting hampers during Christmas or purchase toys for the toy shop.” 

He couldn’t give an exact number but Ward believes the Salvation Army will help around 300 children and their families this Christmas. Last year, the Christmas hamper program had 345 applicants that served 745 people and helped 312 children with toys.  

The second part of the hamper process ensures that families will not go hungry this Christmas.

“We’ve moved to a grocery gift card process. Depending on the size of the family – if it’s a single individual, a couple, or children, that gift card for Co-op, Safeway, and Superstore to buy groceries, would have a nominal value.” 

The reasoning behind this gift card is to provide families the opportunity to buy groceries best suited for their family and they can be more selective on what kind of food they purchase for their Christmas meal.  

The Salvation Army has an Adopt a Family program. This program entails a Moose Jaw family or organization sponsoring another family that is in need this Christmas.  

“What we try to do is be comparable and equitable in terms of what Adopt a Family would receive to what we would issue through the hamper and toy interview process just for consistency and fairness throughout.” 

The Adopt a Family program is currently underway at the Salvation Army’s downtown location on 175 1 Avenue Northeast. You can call their downtown location at 306-692-5899 for more information on the Adopt a Family program.

The Salvation Army's Christmas Kettle Campaign wraps up on December 24. Money raised from the campaign helps fund the Salvation Army throughout the year.