The jolly man in the red suit, Saint Nick himself, along with employees of a local pipeline contractor donated hundreds of toys and thousands of dollars to the Nicola Valley and District Food Bank’s Christmas hamper program.
Employees of Surerus Murphy Joint Venture (SMJV), a contractor working on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, banded together to raise funds and collect toys to be distributed in Merritt. The employees have donated to the food bank and other local organizations annually since 2019, donating tens of thousands of dollars and countless toys. The employees look to follow their motto of “do the right thing while no one is watching.”
“This is all a part of our Christmas fundraising and donation drive that we’ve had out at work,” said Adrian Wall, Indigenous and community affairs manager with SMJV.
“We have about 840 employees working for us right now, as well as about 100 subcontractors, so we put a poster out a few weeks back saying that we wanted to put a toy drive together. We’ve done this for a few years now.”
Along with the donation of toys and $2500 cash from Surerus Murphy, a number of other businesses and organizations are supporting the food bank’s Christmas Hamper Program. A medical subcontractor from the pipeline also donated $1000 to the cause. The program distributed over 400 hampers including food, toiletries, toys, and other essentials for those who could use the support during the holiday season last year. They expect to do another 400 this year, and food bank staff told the Herald that every little bit counts.
“As you can tell, right now, we have nothing, so this means everything,” said Derlanda Hewton, manager of the Nicola Valley & District Food Bank.
“It’s going to be able to help a lot of kids. We also have Highland Valley coming in today, and we also have a toy drive from Vancouver coming in today. Amalgamated, we’re hopefully going to be able to give choices to the parents for some nice gifts.”
A number of organizations and individuals have donated to the Food Bank throughout the Christmas hamper season, including gifts and food from the Langley based non-profit, BC Aero. The organizations assisted in flood recovery operations last November, and decided to keep the proceeds of their annual toy drive within the Nicola Valley again this year.
TNRD Area Directors Herb Graham and David Laird donated a combined total of $8000.00 to the food bank on December 20, a part of their remaining discretionary budget for 2022. The local Tim Hortons also recently contributed to the food bank, chipping in $5052 of their Smile Cookie Campaign earnings. Food bank management said the organization is grateful for the support of these donations, and the many other forms of support they receive towards their important cause.
For more information on the Nicola Valley Food Bank, including the Christmas Hamper Program, visit www.facebook.com/NicolaValleyFoodBank.