Hamper History


In 2003, an Edmonton teacher and JCI Edmonton member brought the idea of the Holiday Hamper Program to JCI Edmonton. In her role as a social worker in the school, she saw first-hand how her students and their families struggled throughout the year, especially through the holiday season. Her goal was ultimately to make their Holiday Seasons a little brighter by providing the families with healthy meals and ensuring that the kids had gifts to open. She identified how necessary a program like this was for bringing joy to kids and their families during this special time of year, and thus a tradition was born!

Since 2003, this program has grown exponentially and has become a cornerstone of Edmonton's philanthropic community, during the holiday season. The program started with 13 families and 1 school and over a decade later, JCI Edmonton and 24 partner schools help provide Christmas meals and presents to over 800 families in Edmonton. This year, the program looks set to help over 900 families and will continue to grow from there! This would not have been possible without the support of every day generous Edmontonians!


Under the direction of three program chairs, a team of JCI members are recruited each year to help coordinate the Holiday Hamper Program.

The program partners with the Edmonton Catholic and Public Schools as well as the Christmas Bureau, to source families that are in need of support during the holiday season. Once the families have been identified by the schools and cross referenced with the Christmas Bureau, JCI members alongside members of the community sign up to “adopt” a family and become what we call - Hamper Elves.

On or around December 1st, the family information is assigned and distributed, and it is time for the Elves to go shopping! JCI Edmonton fundraisers throughout the year to provide the turkeys and roasting pans for each hamper, while the Elves provide the gifts and groceries to complete it.

On Delivery Day, at least one week prior to December 25th, Elves meet at Northlands Expo Centre to pick up their turkeys, roasting pans and addresses to hand-deliver their hampers to their adopted families. Any undeliverable hampers are distributed to participant schools (via representatives on-site at Delivery Day) or taken to Sacred Heart Church in inner-city Edmonton.





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