Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Slippery roads slow down deliveries

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The Christmas Cheer Board started delivering hampers to homes Monday but cold weather and slippery roads have the holiday-season helpers behind schedule -- so the next few days will be hectic.

"We still have a pile of these hampers to get out," Christmas Cheer Board executive director Kai Madsen said.

"There is a greater reluctance for people to volunteer to drive around when it's cold and the roads are bad."

The weather is expected to improve over the weekend and that, coupled with thousands of hampers that still need to be picked up or delivered, means the board warehouse on Ellice Avenue will be buzzing.

"Saturday is going to be absolutely mind-boggling. We are going to have so many people here this weekend and it won't let up all next week," Madsen said.

He said the operation is huge and involves long hours for staff and volunteers.

"The key to the process is making sure we can handle all the phone calls. We get thousands and thousands of phone calls and, at the same time, we have to co-ordinate all the making of the hampers and matching the toys and getting delivery sheets prepared."

Although getting all hampers out early might seem like an ideal situation, the Cheer Board wants to spread out the work so all volunteers feel like they've helped out.

"We always have families that come in on the 22nd and 23rd and make it a tradition to come in and deliver with their kids. It's part of their Christmas," Madsen said. "I don't want to finish too soon, but also don't want to get so behind that we can't get it done."

Sarah Waldner and her son, James, have been delivering hampers for the last three days, for about five hours a day.

James is helping out because he's currently not working and wants to spend his time lending a hand to others.

"It was really cold, but I didn't mind it at all," said James. "I actually like it a lot more than I thought I might. The people have been so nice and it has been great to meet new people."

david.baxter@freepress.mb.ca

14,712

The number of families who have applied for hampers from the Christmas Cheer Board as of Thursday, slightly down from a year ago

 

 

 

2,000

The approximate number of delivery drivers who volunteer at the Christmas Cheer Board

 

 

 

500

The approximate number of volunteers who work in the Christmas Cheer Board warehouse

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 14, 2012 A11

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