Morningstar Relief Mission has launched its Twelve Days of Christmas Gift Basket outreach initiative. “We know this is going to be a very challenging Christmas for many of our clients,” says Kevin Alkenbrack, Executive Director, “In addition to our Christmas Day dinner we want to be able to offer something extra special.”
Alkenbrack says the gift baskets are based on the reverse advent food box concept but will be done over 12 days, instead of 24 in order to make sure there is ample time to get the baskets to people who need them in advance of the Christmas Day meal effort. Here is how it will go:
- December 1 to December 12: sponsors put two items per day in a basket or decorated box.
- December 14 to 19: Morningstar will accept delivery of the unwrapped baskets.
- December 21 to 24: Volunteers will package and deliver the baskets.
“We want these baskets to primarily contain food,” says Alkenbrack, “and we’re providing a list of suggested items based on supplies most commonly requested by clients.” Alkenbrack says the list also includes ideas for personal and small gift items so that basket builders can enjoy the spirit of giving while also covering the essentials. “Think of this as Morningstar’s re-boot of the old Christmas Carol,” says Alkenbrack, “There’s no need to worry about sevens swans a swimming because a jar of applesauce and a package of rice will do just fine!”
Alkenbrack says it will be hard to know exactly how many baskets are needed. “If we think about our weekly meal delivery, we’ll need at least 100 baskets for those individuals for sure. But we are going to spread the word, like we did at Thanksgiving, and let people know they can sign up to receive a basket. We’ll see how many come to us through that broader outreach.”
The month of November will be spent recruiting gift basket sponsors. “We’ve launched a Christmas Hub at morningstarmission.ca where people can RSVP and let us know they are doing a basket,” says Alkenbrack, “That will help us with the numbers and knowing how many baskets we will have to give to people in need.” The Christmas Hub is also where people can go to sign up online to volunteer during the month of December with the packaging and delivery of baskets as well as the Christmas Day meal.
Alkenbrack is not worried about having enough baskets because Morningstar is already getting calls and emails from people in the community who want to know what they can do to help out. “I have been witness to our community’s generosity for more than ten years,” he says, “yet I am still moved by how often incredible donations big and small seem to come just when we need them the most. I have faith the numbers will work out and that everyone who needs a basket will get one.”