Lisa Anderson hopes residents will donate backpacks as Christmas gifts for Upper Room Mission clients.

Lisa Anderson hopes residents will donate backpacks as Christmas gifts for Upper Room Mission clients.

Vernon mission struggling to spread Christmas cheer

There has been a slow response to backpack donations. The backpacks are handed out as gifts

Some Vernon residents may not find something special under the Christmas tree.

Only about 50 backpacks have been donated to the Upper Room Mission to hand out to clients, while about 300 are required.

“We want to make sure there’s enough for everyone,” said Lisa Anderson, director of resource development.

Many of the clients don’t have family in Vernon or they don’t have contact with their family. The backpacks full of items may be the only gifts they receive.

“It makes them feel special that someone put a gift together for them,” said Anderson.

Anderson believes the slow response to the backpack campaign is a result of the economy.

“Everyone is feeling the pinch this year. People have less money to spend,” she said.

The backpacks can be used as long as they are in good shape.

“They don’t have to be filled to the brim. It can be a warm toque, gloves and Christmas candy,” said Anderson.

Other items that can be included are socks, small notepads and pens, flashlights and toiletry items like shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, razors, Kleenex and Band-Aids.

Beyond candy, there can also be crossword puzzles and gift cards.

Backpacks can be dropped off by Dec. 21 at 4 p.m. at the mission at 3403 27th Ave.

URM is hosting its Christmas dinner Dec. 23 at 4 p.m.

“Everyone is welcome to attend,” said Anderson.

To handle the large crowd, Fermco will set up a large tent outside and guests can drink hot chocolate until there is space inside for the meal.

For more information about URM or to donate, go to www.upperroommission.ca or call 250-549-1231 ext. 29.