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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society (WRS) has opened applications for those interested in helping sponsor local families.

Lisa Jewell, outreach & housing coordinator with the society, says the Christmas Hamper program has been going on for longer than she’s been there, and with feedback that she’s gotten from sponsors, they decided to start a little early.

Jewell describes the sponsor application as really “short and quick.”

The applications will need to include contact information, what kind of budget the sponsor has, and if the sponsor has a specific family demographic they’d like to sponsor.

“Some people will say, ‘oh, I want a single-parent family,’ or some people will say, ‘I’d really like a family with small kids,'” she said, “I do my best to match that up.”

The society heavily recommends spending approximately $50 a person to go into the dinner part of the basket specifically.

“I usually tell people, ‘what do you do for Christmas dinner? Let’s try to mimic that,'” Jewell explained.

Aside from Christmas dinner being an expectation in the hampers, families are given a detailed wishlist that they need to fill out for each person.

Jewell says this makes shopping more straightforward, as it includes everyone’s sizes and preferences, as well as everyone’s needs and wants and things that the kids may dislike.

“You would not believe how many kids do not like candy and chocolate,” she added.

Jewell says they created about 110 hampers last year and around 100 on average, though this year may be higher due to the rising cost of items, especially food.

“Our outreach numbers alone went up by about 104 per cent compared to last year. The numbers are outrageous,” she said.

“Last month, we had over 1,200 people access the store.”

She says they only sponsor families and direct individuals to the Salvation Army, so they do not duplicate services.

To be eligible to receive a hamper, a family must provide a three-month bank statement to prove they are living in the Canada Revenue Agency’s idea of poverty.

Jewell says the Canada Revenue Agency’s recommendation for living in poverty is making $36,000 and below, plus $2,000 per child.

Applications for families in need can be picked up at the Women’s Resource Society at 10051 100th Avenue but will not be accepted until November 1st.

Applications for sponsors are now open and can be downloaded below:

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Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.