Who we are and what we do
The Christmas Cheer Board is a registered Canadian charity governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Christmas Cheer Board belongs to all of us. We do not fundraise; we rely on generous individuals, families, schools, community groups and businesses to raise funds and donate food, toys and their time.
The Christmas Cheer Board provides over 18,000 Christmas hampers to individuals and families annually. Families assisted include those receiving Employment Income Assistance (EIA) as well many low-income families and pensioners. Others served may include unemployed persons, and recent immigrants.
The office/warehouse is open during November and December. Each year we rely on donated warehouse space for our operation. Volunteers take hamper applications, complete data entry, wrap toys, sort food and pack hampers. Switchboard operators answer questions, and volunteers map out delivery routes. School students assemble and pack hampers, which are delivered by volunteer drivers. Volunteers provide recipients hampers at the warehouse and also coordinate delivery of hampers by volunteer drivers. Countless people knit all year to provide hats and mitts to include in gifts for children. Groups and individuals may provide and deliver a hamper to families through our Feed-a-Family Program.
It takes approximately 5,000 community helpers each year for the Christmas Cheer Board to operate. Special events such as the Winnipeg Jets’ toy drive, the Manitoba Moose Teddy Bear Toss and the TD/St. Vital Christmas Miracle help raise much needed funds. More than half of the food and toys are donated by individuals and companies, with the rest being purchased with donated funds. The generosity of donors and volunteers is greatly appreciated.
The Christmas Cheer Board was started in 1919 by a number of Winnipeg churches. The original intent was to provide Christmas hampers and toys for the widows and orphans of the soldiers lost during World War One.
The churches quickly realized that there were many other families in Winnipeg who also needed help at Christmas. As the project grew, they decided to work together to coordinate Christmas giving. In the mid-forties, the churches combined forces into one organization as the Christmas Cheer Board to better assist families in need.