The Morden Christmas Cheerboard will be getting an early start on its season after a $6,150 grant to its hamper program from the United Way Pembina Valley. Chairperson Carolyn Schellenberg says the money will help kickstart the 2024 campaign, which is now underway.

"This past year we had 40 to 50 new applications, which was a bit of a surprise to us because at the beginning they were a bit slow coming in," explained Schellenberg. "It seemed as if we were going to be okay, and then when all these applications came in, we looked at our finances and we thought, 'Oh boy, we're going to be in difficulty,' but things worked out okay in the end, especially now, after we've got the donation from the United Way, and that's really going to be a help in getting us going for next year."

The group delivered 365 hampers in December 2023, which is 64 more than 2022.

"We use that money for food for our families, or people who apply, and also to make sure the children in the families have toys," she added. "We try to give it (the hampers) fairly close to Christmas, so they can keep it and have kids open them on Christmas Day, or whenever the family opens gifts, and the same with the food for Christmas Day."

Schellenberg noted increased food costs led the board to review how much they were investing into each hamper.

"When we started in September (2023) with our meetings, we upped the amount of money that went into our hampers by quite a bit, and then we realized we'd have to go higher."

You can already make a donation to the Morden Christmas Cheerboard 2024 campaign, and you can do that by clicking here.

- With files from Robyn Wiebe -