Some of the volunteers who helped fill Christmas hampers last year for the Ashcroft and Area Community Resources Society. Photo: Barbara Roden.

Community Helping Hands helps sort things out

The list explains the differences between, and needs of, four local groups that help those in need.

For Ashcroft resident Esther Lang—chair of the Christmas hamper committee of the Ashcroft and Area Community Resources Society—it was a common mistake people often made: locals thinking that the Christmas hamper program was run by the South Cariboo Elizabeth Fry Society, which runs the bi-monthly food bank in Ashcroft.

The two events and organizations are completely separate (although they do collaborate on the Toys for Joys campaign). However, Lang realized there was some confusion in the community about what the two organizations did, and felt that people might also be unaware of the services they provide.

Then she added Soup’s On and The Equality Project to the mix, and saw that while there was some overlap between the groups and what they offer, there were significant differences. She also knew that the groups were all looking for volunteers and donations of money and goods; so she compiled “Community Helping Hands”, a handy chart detailing all four groups’ purposes, times of operation, location, areas of service, governing organization, what donations each group is looking for, their charitable status, contact information, social media sites, and whether or not they are looking for volunteers.

“There is some overlap, but some differences as well,” explains Lang. “People don’t necessarily know the full extent of what’s offered. And I thought the chart would help people know what organization(s) would best suit their needs.”

Not only will the chart help people differentiate between the groups and find out what they offer, it will help people target donations more effectively. “I’ve heard people say ‘Oh, I’ll just take this [item] to The Equality Project,’” says Lang. “But they want you to call first, because they might not need or want it, and they don’t have too much storage space.”

She also says that while some people want to donate pet food or diapers for the Christmas hampers, the hampers are made up of food products only. However, the chart notes that the E. Fry society is happy to take diapers, while The Equality Project will accept pet food, and Soup’s On will welcome donations of garden produce.

Lang will be making copies of the chart available for pickup at the E. Fry office in Ashcroft (601 Bancroft Street), The Equality Project (1260 Stage Road, Cache Creek), Soup’s On (St. Alban’s Anglican Church, 501 Brink Street, Ashcroft), The Journal office on 4th Street, and the Better at Home office at the Ashcroft HUB. You can also contact her at (250) 453-9085 or for a copy.

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