Hamper Scamper fills EAUC staff with Christmas spirit!

18th December 2014

Day 10 of EAUC Sustainable Christmas is Community and Public Engagement

This is the perfect day to share our day of volunteering in the local community in Cheltenham where the EAUC is based. Below is a blog post by Kate Aubury, Finance Officer:

Hamper Scamper Fills EAUC Staff with Christmas Spirit!

"Tuesday 16 December saw staff from EAUC spending the day volunteering with CCP as part of their annual Hamper Scamper. Hamper Scamper is CCP’s Christmas Giving Scheme, designed to spread a little cheer to some of the most disadvantaged children, young people, families and vulnerable adults in Gloucestershire at Christmas.

Prior to the day itself, we were busy collecting food for the project, including Christmas items such as mince pies and chocolate, as well as more basic foodstuffs like pasta and tinned goods. The project collects food donations from around the county and relies on the generosity of the public and businesses to make the scheme a success. In addition to the food hampers, CCP also identify children who are unlikely to receive any Christmas presents – due to poverty, homelessness or family breakdown – and arrange for presents to be donated and matched to the children who need them. Last year, food and gifts worth over £45,000 were donated and 2014 is on course to be bigger and better!

On the day, we all headed to a central location in Cheltenham where the project was set up in an unused office space. As we walked in, we were greeted by the sight of huge piles of presents and food – the pasta mountain alone was a sight to behold! Row upon row of empty cardboard boxes lay spread out on the floor and the staff at CCP informed us that due to increased supply and demand, they intended to send out 550 boxes this year (up from 384 last year). The boxes were going out for delivery from Friday 19 December onwards so the pressure was on to fill as many as possible.

We were split into small groups and given various tasks throughout the day. All the food delivered had to be date checked (and anything past its use by date removed), logged and stacked in the relevant area. Hampers had to be made up using a list to ensure everyone got the same items – this included basics such as pasta, tea, baked beans, cereal and UHT milk, as well as a few Christmas items to make the hampers special.

Some of us also helped sort the presents and stack them in family groups ready for delivery later in the week. Dressed in Christmas jumpers, we felt like Santa’s elves, spreading some Christmas joy! But it was also sobering to think of the families who are struggling not just at Christmas but throughout the year. However, seeing the generosity of all those who had donated to the project, and helping ourselves in a small way, also gave us all a warm glow and made the hard work seem incredibly worthwhile.

By the end of the day we were all tired, and our backs ached from all the lifting and carrying, but as we gazed at the hampers we had filled waiting to go out we all felt delighted with what we had achieved. And I know that I will be thinking of some of the recipients on Christmas Day, as I sit down with my family for a delicious dinner, and hoping that they will enjoy the Christmas pudding and mince pies in their hamper and feel a little bit of Christmas magic for at least a day."

What are you doing to support the local community at Christmas? Head on over to Facebook to weigh in!

Community and Public Engagement is a Framework within Learning in Future Environments (LiFE)
> Check out more resources on 'Community and Public Engagement' on the Sustainability Exchange

Hamper Scamper fills EAUC staff with Christmas spirit! image #1 Iain, Helen Lisa, Kate, Kate, Sarah, Gillian and Rebecca The pasta mountain