FAQs

Who can apply?

Anyone who is living on a low income in the Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge or the surrounding townships of Woolwich and Wilmot-Wellesley.  Where and how you apply depends on which city or township you live in. Please see the How to Apply section for more details.

How to apply?

You can apply by completing a Christmas hamper application in person.  Please refer to our How to Apply section for information on where and when to apply in your area.

Where to apply?

Applications are available across the region.  Where and how you apply depends on where you live.  Please refer to our How to Apply section for the dates, times and locations available in your area.

What do I need to bring with me to apply?

Please bring a piece of identification for yourself and all of the other people in your household that you wish to get food or gifts for.  This will make it easier to register your family.

If you are living in Kitchener or Waterloo and you wish to get gifts, please bring a calendar or day planner as you will be making your gift appointment when you apply.

What to expect in the Christmas Hamper?

What and how much you will receive depends on your family size.  You will receive a box of food which contains perishable and non-perishable food. You may also receive a turkey, depending on your family size and availability.

Who is providing help this Christmas?

In Kitchener-Waterloo, House of Friendship provides the Christmas food hamper and the Salvation Army provides gifts for children under the age of 16. Food and gifts may also be provided by local churches or from service clubs like Sertoma Club or community groups like Possibilities International and the Doon Pioneer Park Community Association.  Delivery of these services in KW are coordinated by House of Friendship.

In Cambridge, the Salvation Army and Cambridge Firefighters work to help with food and gifts for families on OW and ODSP.  The Cambridge Self Help Food Bank helps families and individuals living on a low income and who are not receiving OW and ODSP with food and gifts. Cambridge Firefighters provide gifts and a food hamper of non-perishable items including a turkey. The Salvation Army provides a food voucher.

In Wilmot, the Wilmot Family Resource Centre assists families living on a low income. Woolwich Community Services assists in the Elmira and St. Jacobs area.

How can I help?  I want to donate, volunteer or sponsor a family!

You can help in a variety of ways.  Please refer to our How to Apply Section for more information.

Gift pick up location in Kitchener and Waterloo

Once you apply for the Christmas Gift program, you will be given an appointment time and location, or may be given the opportunity to receive your gifts from a sponsor like Sertoma Club or Possibilities International.

Turkey pick up locations in Kitchener and Waterloo

When you apply for a Christmas Hamper you will be given the option to receive a turkey. You MUST have a turkey voucher to pick up a turkey. You can not obtain a voucher at the turkey pick up site.

Turkey distribution in Kitchener Waterloo happens at Waterloo City Hall (100 Regina Street South) and 335 Gage Avenue in Kitchener. You may only pick up from one site.

When can I apply for the Christmas hamper program?

When and how to apply depends on the city you live in.  Please check our How to Apply Section for more information.

What are the requirements?

We are happy to help you if you are living on a low income.  You must live in the KW area and also have an address for the items to be delivered. When you apply please bring identification for everyone in your household.  For more information visit the How to Apply page.  Some sites and service providers have additional requirements.

When can I get my Christmas hamper?

Kitchener-Waterloo hampers are delivered between December 11th-16th and 18th-19th.

In Cambridge recipients of Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank  receive their hamper Dec. 16th.  Recipients with Cambridge Firefighters pick up their hamper Dec. 17th.  For more information on each, please visit the Delivery/ Pickup page.

In Wilmot/Wellesley hampers are ready for pick-up on December 14th.

In Woolwich hampers will be ready for pick-up on December 14th.

Do I need to apply every year?

Yes. You must apply every year in order to receive a Christmas hamper.

Who to contact if I do not receive my Christmas hamper?

If you live in Kitchener and do not receive your Christmas hamper by December 20th contact the KW Christmas Bureau at 519-742-5860.

Requirements for receiving gifts?

If you have children under the age of 16 who live with you full time, you may apply for the Christmas gifts program.

Can I apply for gifts only?

Yes. If you just need gifts for your children you can apply for gifts only.

Can I apply for a Christmas hamper only?

Yes. You can apply for a Christmas food hamper only.

How do I get a turkey?

If you live in Kitchener or Waterloo and you would like to get a turkey you must request it when you apply for food or gifts.  You will receive a voucher that you can take to a pickup site between December 13th and 20th.

Can I still apply if I work full time?

Yes. If you work full time, have a low income, and are in need of food assistance during the holiday season, you can apply for a Christmas hamper.

I am not on OW or ODSP. Can I still apply?

Yes. You can still apply for the Christmas Hamper if you are not on OW or ODSP.

I am retired and receiving a pension. Can I still apply?

Yes. People on Old Age Pension can apply for a Christmas hamper.

Can I still apply if I do not live in the Waterloo Region?

No. We only serve Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Wilmot and Woolwich. People who live in other cities and towns should apply to their food banks for food assistance.

I have my grandchildren over for Christmas. Can I get gifts for them?

No. We try to help as many people as possible, but due to the shortage of donations we can only help parents with children they have custody of.

I have guests for Christmas, can I get a hamper for them?

No. We only provide Christmas hampers to a person or family who resides with you.

Can I apply to multiple locations?

No. You can only apply to one location for a Christmas hamper. Many agencies may use the same program/system/database for booking Christmas hampers. If you apply in a different location you will create additional work for the Bureau to process and identify your duplicate applications.

Is my Christmas hamper delivered to my home?

In Kitchener-Waterloo, yes. Each year we have a group of volunteers that deliver Christmas hampers to each family’s home.  If you live in Cambridge or the townships you will need to pick your Christmas Hamper up yourself.

If I live in Kitchener or Waterloo can I pick up my Christmas hamper?

No. Due to the volume of applications and the seasonal nature of the program, warehouse locations change each year and to avoid confusion we will deliver the hamper to everyone’s address.

I am not sure where and when I can get my gifts?

Please look at the Contact section and call the contact number for your city or township of residence.

People in my neighborhood got their Christmas hamper, but we still did not receive ours?

In Kitchener Waterloo the Christmas hampers are delivered by volunteers in batches, so two different volunteers may deliver several hampers to the same area but on different days and times.  When hampers are delivered depends on how many volunteers are available, when you applied and your application was processed and the size of the volunteers vehicle.

We are two different families or two different individuals in the same address, can we get two separate Christmas hampers?

If you live in Kitchener or Waterloo you can.  If two different households live in the same address but eat separately, you may apply for separate Christmas hampers. But if you live in the same address and also share meals together, you must apply for one Christmas hamper by including all the individual names in the form.

Where can I get Christmas meals during Christmas time?

There are a number of groups that provide Christmas meals during the holiday season.  They are not affiliated with the Christmas Bureau.  Please check back here soon for a list of locations and dates when community meals are being served.